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Not on estate agents' websites or those of chartered surveyors or those of the Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council or by the Eastbourne office of the Citizen's Advice Bureau is it revealed that residential freeholders and leaseholders and their successors of Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour property are legally required by covenant to pay a unique Annual Estate Rentcharge of £263.55 per residential unit for 2020 in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents. (The only partial-exemptions from this Annual Estate Rentcharge are for the first 364 homes built at Sovereign Harbour. They were exempt from the Marina Charge but are liable for the SW charge). All Annual Estate Rentcharge Deeds are registered by the Sovereign Harbour Trust and/or its Community Interest Company shown below with the Land Registry. Nowhere is it stated, as it surely should be, by any of these entities that this Annual Estate Rentcharge is unique to Sovereign Harbour residents, it does not apply in any other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world. Nor do they state that much of it of it is for Environment Agency-provided flood defence. Also omitted by these entities is the fact that only Sovereign Harbour residents have to pay it. Yet this flood defence scheme covers a much wider flood zone area than just the 4,300 or so homes in Sovereign Harbour. In fact, more than 15,500 homes in areas of Pevensey, Pevensey Bay, Wealden District Council and beyond to Bexhill on Sea, 8 miles east also get this same flood defence service. But do they also pay for it? No, only Sovereign Harbour residents, via the Annual Estate Rentcharge. Sovereign Harbour homeowners are required in the lease and/or purchase deeds of each flat or house to  pay this to the Wellcome Trust-owned private Sovereign Harbour Trust via its private subsidiary the Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd, to Premier Marinas, owned by The Wellcome Trust. When a property changes hands the new buyer is charged at least £120, an unwelcome additional charge of the total transaction cost. But completely omitted on the websites of the last four named entities is both any mention that this Annual Estate Rentcharge liability applies to Sovereign Harbour dwellers only, no one else, and that a charge for it is applied to newcomers. Nor is it mentioned anywhere on their websites that the only purpose of the Sovereign Harbour Trust's Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd is to charge Sovereign Harbour residents the Annual Estate Rentcharge, not give them any beneficial community interest of any kind. While resident property owners and long-lease-holders are required to pay for this Annual Estate Rentcharge, businesses including all developers of Sovereign Harbour properties and their managing agents and property developers are exempted. A second unique covenant requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South Harbour properties in the water feature precinct to pay an additional annual charge of more than £328. It is the only such water feature in the world that applies such a charge to properties adjacent to or overlooking it. Notice about this second covenant is also withheld by most estate agents from prospective buyers of relevant Sovereign Harbour South properties. By deliberately not mentioning that this specific Annual Estate Rentcharge is payable by both freehold and leasehold homeowners, or disguising it as merely a standard harbour charge similar to other harbour areas, which it is not, estate agents who market Sovereign Harbour properties also fail to inform relevant banks and mortgage companies, many of whom for legal reasons may not approve mortgages on properties that are subject to an estate rentcharge.

 Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour

Toxic Annual Estate Rentcharge Capital of the World as shown below

Written by Keith A. Forbes, a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled.  He and his wife live in the harbour.

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About Sovereign Harbour

For details of why Sovereign Harbour is the Toxic Annual Rentcharge Capital of the World, see below under Sovereign Harbour Trust and its CIC 

Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour is situated 2.5 miles east of Eastbourne on the A259 Pevensey Bay Road going to Bexhill-On-Sea and Hastings.  It is a part of Eastbourne Borough Council's Sovereign Ward (a bigger area than just Sovereign Harbour and the easternmost of Eastbourne's 12 electoral wards). It was developed by Carillion Construction Limited. It had a huge and complex national and international (Canada, etc) corporate portfolio until January 2018 when it was put into involuntary liquidation and publicly disgraced. It included being a major supplier to the UK government. It helped to maintain schools and hospitals and was also part of a consortium building the £56bn HS2 high-speed rail link. Carillion was finally involuntarily liquidated but there is still a Bermuda company by that name. 

Sovereign Harbour North scene

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Photos above and below by authors Keith and Lois Forbes

Sovereign Harbour comprises an area of 330 acres developed since the 1990s to provide harbour and marina facilities for Eastbourne which previously had none. It is Northern Europe's largest composite marina complex. It is both a marina (divided into four parts) and a seafront harbour, with the harbour opening out into separate parts. The four marinas border the separate harbours. The Outer Harbour is tidal, whilst the Inner, South, North and West Harbours are entered through two high capacity locks, both manned 24 hours, 365 days a year, providing access to the sea irrespective of the state of the tide. Opened in 1993 by the late Princess Diana, it has  800 permanent berths, with some 3,000 yachts visiting each year. The Outer Harbour is tidal, whilst the Inner, South, North and West Harbours are entered through two high capacity locks, both manned 24 hours, 365 days a year, providing access to the sea irrespective of the state of the tide. All the many streets in the four residential areas have overseas names from exotic places (for example, Bermuda) around the world.  Premier Marina is no longer the independently separate company it once was. In recent years it was sold to the Blackrock UK Property Fund and became a wholly owned subsidiary, still trading (as it does today) as Premier Marinas. Later, it was sold to The Wellcome Trust and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the latter. The Wellcome Trust - a charitable foundation (except to the residents of its Sovereign Harbour to whom it charges £263.55 Annual Estate Rentcharge per house or flat as mentioned earlier), was created in 1936 by the will of Sir Henry Wellcome and its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a private company limited by guarantee. Premier Marinas Holdings Limited is a private company limited by shares.

In addition to its multi-harbour marinas it has the Sovereign Harbour Village Waterfront harbour-front area with its restaurants, bars and other business services, either owned or leased to other undertakings by The Wellcome Trust/Premier Marinas conglomerate. Also in Sovereign Harbour are the Harbour Medical Practice for NHS patients, with its GPs, nurses and support staff, built in 2014 with about 6,300 patients and, from May 2018, finally a long-promised paid-for by Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, the Sovereign Harbour Community Centre which includes a kitchen area but has no cooking facilities.

Geographically in the Sovereign Harbour area but not owned by The Wellcome Trust/Premier Marinas Holdings Limited but by M&G is the adjacent Crumbles - also styled Sovereign Harbour Village - retail park shopping centre. Some of the latter's stores (for example, the supermarket ASDA) and restaurants are frequented by residents of other parts of Eastbourne and nearby including  Pevensey and Pevensey Bay, and Polegate, as far east as Bexhill-on-Sea. The regional ASDA superstore has almost 100,000 square feet. There are also branches of Boots, Frankie & Benny's restaurant, a gym, Matalan, Next, Sports Direct, T K. Maxx, Wilko and a disability-friendly sports outfit. Until mid- 2019 there was a good multi-screen Cineworld cinema much appreciated by Sovereign Harbour residents complete with plenty of free parking in the retail park but to the chagrin of all Sovereign Harbour residents it was lured away by Bermuda-incorporated Legal & General's Beacon Shopping Centre.

Sovereign Harbour vessels at North Harbour marina

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Sovereign Harbour North, part of marina. Photo cc these authors Keith and Lois Forbes

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Annual Estate Rentcharge explained

The Sovereign Harbour Beaches Sea Defence Deed, which created the Sovereign Haarbour Annual Estate Rentcharge is dated 26th August 2001 and the parties were: 

The Annual Estate Rentcharge is payable only by Sovereign Harbour residents to the Sovereign Harbour Trust and its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company (CIC) but not payable by the rest of E Eastbourne, Pevensey, Pevensey Bay, Bexhill, or anyone else in the UK.  

Basic Facts and figures

The Deed and Grant of Covenant for each qualifying Sovereign Harbour property.  This is not mentioned upfront by the Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council or estate agents. None of the latter have ever been required by these local authorities or central government to make a full disclosure of exactly what the Annual Estate Rentcharge is, what it comprises and who has to pay it, for the benefit of consumers and would-be purchasers of Sovereign Harbour property. Specimen copies of the deed with the relevant obligations are not made available in advance to potential buyers.  All that is said by same estate agents, very misleadingly, is that there is a "harbour charge". All harbours have a harbour charge but it is levied on marine craft. In the absence of information to the contrary it was assumed by many new owners that this is a normal harbour charge for all harbours in the UK, Europe and world. They were and are duped. No precise information is given in advance to let them know that there is no standard "harbour charge" as such. Instead, all purchasers of a Sovereign Harbour residential unit (property), as conditions of the sales contract, are required to sign a Deed of Grant and Covenant which obliges the purchaser to pay the Estate Rentcharge to the harbor's owners, the privately-held Wellcome Trust and its subsidiary (since May 2015) Premier Marinas. The charge is levied by the owners' private Sovereign Harbour Trust via its privately-held subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company. This requirement is attached to the property deeds, so the obligation passes to all subsequent owners of the property. The basis for the charge is an agreement between Southern Water and Tarmac Construction in 1988. At that time, Southern Water was responsible for coastal defences and Tarmac Construction. later Carillion, was the owner of the development land at Sovereign Harbour.

Annual Estate Rentcharge Elements

Two main parts

The Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) is a company limited by guarantee, set up to preserve and protect the environment along the beach frontage in front of Sovereign Harbour.  The registered office and correspondence address and those of its  Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC is Number 22,  Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8AS. The SHT was originally registered as a charity but, in 2010, the Trust’s charitable status was withdrawn as it had never demonstrated any charitable activities.  The Trust was removed from the Charity Commission register and is now dormant. On its website the Trust publishes A Guide to the Estate Rentcharge. Following the lossIt must be emphasised that the Government's Community Interest Company (CIC) regulations require a CIC to consult its stakeholders (i.e. the residents) about its activities, and to provide high quality information rather than just the required minimum. of charitable status (but still showing itself, wrongly, on its website as as a charity, the Trust incorporated  without any pre-warning to Sovereign Harbour residents a wholly owned Community Interest Company (CIC) Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences), to demand and collect the rentcharge and manage the administration of the income. A sad fact of this this CIC and reflecting poorly on them is that our MP, all MPs, the central government and the EBC and ESCC should surely have recognised but did not, is that to operate as a CIC, a majority of its board members should be from the community and be appointed by the community it charges. MPs and councillors have also completely ignored the fact that the Government's Community Interest Company (CIC) regulations require a CIC to consult its stakeholders (i.e. the residents) about its activities, and to provide high quality information rather than just the required minimum.

This CIC is an outrage to the only people it charges and in no way benefits, the-then 3,119 thousand Sovereign Harbour residents, while having a beneficial interest solely to the people not in that Sovereign Harbour residents community at all but the more than 17,000 homeowners in Pevensey Bay and all the way to Bexhill-on-Sea. They do not pay a penny for the environmental protection they get from the Environment Agency and Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd. Yet Sovereign Harbour and its residents are not mentioned at all, not even as the sole payers they are, on the websites of the SHT, its CIC and  Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd appointed by The Trust, marina operator, Premier Marinas and its Wellcome Trust owner, to undertake the flood defense work until 2025 and  thereafter as appropriate. The latter contracts with a number of commercial companies to do its work. Interestingly, although it was lauded in 2001as a unique PPP/PFI, the first of its type, it has remained, not surprisingly, the only one of its type.

In an extensive article published in September, 2010 the New Civil Engineer magazine carried an article by Margo Cole about how, at Pevensey Bay, the world's  only PPP/PFI sea defence contract celebrated its 10th anniversary of protecting East Sussex from coastal flooding. But in this deeply flawed article published by the New Civil Engineer entity the writer omitted to mention the fact that Sovereign Harbour residents were (and still are) the only people paying for it, while all others who benefit from it pay nothing. Were any Sovereign Harbour residents consulted by the author? No. Were they consulted or told about the formation of the PPP/PFI entities? No.  It is hoped the New Civil Engineer will want to correct its errors by publishing an accurate piece which will include who and who does not pay for this sea defence and why, instead of so many people and their businesses in Pevensey Bay, Pevensey Parish Council, Wealden District Council, Bexhill and beyond getting their sea defence for free while only Sovereign Harbour residents have to pay for it, there is not a much fairer way of paying it. Will the New Civil Engineer publish a new piece and say that the cost should be spread evenly over all, not just a few, of those who benefit from it? (It is reliably estimated that more than 17,400 people do so, with about 4,000 of them residents of Sovereign Harbour).

In early 2020 it was revealed to these authors by Eastbourne tourism officials that The Wellcome Trust's and Premier Marinas-owned Sovereign Harbour had about 3.4 million visitors out of the 5.2 experienced by the town. Instead of charging those 3.4 million visitors a moderate admissions fee as many other Eastbourne attractions charge, visitors are given free access at all times by The Wellcome Trust and Premier Marinas. Where they recoup their costs and make money besides in in charging not those 3.4 million visitors but merely the 3,119 freehold and leasehold residents of Sovereign Harbour, as a unique 2020 Annual Estate Rentcharge of £263.55 per freehold home or leased apartment, highest in the world, irrespective of whether the property is worth £180,000 or £1.25 million. They could earn so much more money for the harbour's upkeep and to pay Sovereign Harbour's unique Environment Agency cost, only one anywhere in the world, a so-called public sector/private sector partnership once deemed a pioneer of its type - but not copied by any other UK or European or world environmental agency because it is so unfair to a single small liable group of residents only while others get it for free - by charging those 3.4 million visitors £1.00 a head instead of those 3,119 Sovereign Harbour residents alone at £263.55 per household unit. Premier Marinas owns many other harbours and marinas in the UK including in Brighton, but Sovereign Harbour is the only one, in the UK and world, with an Annual Estate Rentcharge.

In later 2020, with the horrific expense to the UK from the series of massive floods that cased billions of £ of damage from Cornwall to the north of England, reliable news media sources including the BBC have revealed that it will be future government policy that homeowners should no longer expect to be protected environmentally from river or sea floods. Under a radical policy shift drawn up by the Environment Agency,  flooding will be seen as inevitable due to the predicted effects of climate change. Instead of spending millions on repairing as has been the case in the past, government has announced it will instead be helping people rebuild their sea water or river water damaged homes or move away from flood risk areas. Can it be safely assumed that the same government help will apply equally to all PBCD flood-hit areas, including Sovereign Harbour? Or is it just the non-Sovereign Harbour people, who are the only people paying, who will not get this benefit? If the former are not to benefit as well then this has to be referred to the Government via MPs and local councils.

As matters currently stand it has been so unfair that millions if not billions of public monies have been spent on flood repairs and improvements at no cost at all to people whose properties have been damaged or ruined in so many parts of the U.K, while Sovereign Harbour residents alone have had to pay.  Journalists know the EBC and ESCC did not object to the development once they realised the significant income they would receive from council taxes from properties built by the developers. In fact, they have benefited hugely from the much higher rate than originally projected of council taxes they receive from Sovereign Harbour residential properties.  In return for the (inflated) council taxes those residents have paid and are paying, Sovereign Harbour residents should be receiving the same flood protection at no extra cost, just as residents in all other UK counties do. And the beaches in physically in those areas and under their jurisdiction should be recognised as public beaches be open to all.

There is a fair and just way for the annual estate Rentcharge to end, while at the same time keeping the Sovereign Harbour connection with the PBCD if there is no practical and fair alternative. 

Currently Sovereign Harbour is Eastbourne’s biggest single tourism attraction. Tourism officials there have stated that in 2019 Sovereign Harbour got 5.32 million visitors of whom about 3.9 million visited Sovereign Harbour, free of charge. Other attractions charge an entrance fee, but not Sovereign Harbour. True, other Premier Marinas harbours don’t have a land-based harbour charge entrance fee, but neither do they charge an annual Estate Rentcharge. If Sovereign Harbour was to start charging 3.9 million foot visitors a token fee of £1 apiece per visit instead of charging 4,000 or so resident owners £263.55 per year, it would easily meet all its obligations including the Pevensey Bay Coastal Defence-provided costs and have reserves for emergencies and harbour innovations.

Beware of Places with an Estate Rent Charge (like Sovereign Harbour)

So say various law firms and entities below:

 

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Areas & postal codes in alphabetical order of Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour locations and streets

Located in North, South or in-between harbours. The tidal Outer Harbour is only used for entrance to the marina through twin sea locks, which are operated 24 hours a day. It needs frequent dredging to keep the access channel from the sea to the locks open and deep enough for vessels. The local RNLI lifeboat has its own mooring there.[3] The entrance is beside Martello Tower No.66. All the harbours (Inner, South, West and North) are artificial and were dredged one after the other, after 1991. Behind the locks is the main marina called Inner Harbour. This is the central body of water and was the first harbour in use. It contains berths for both visiting and resident berth holders, as well as provides access to the other three harbours via lifting bridges. The other three are used mostly by resident berth holders as well as the local fishing vessels.

The North Harbour was later than the other harbours shown above.  This body of water is larger than the initial Inner Harbour. The two remaining harbours West and South are much smaller and in use by local residents owning a house/apartment around these waters. The three latest developments, in order of completion, are Port Moresby at the easternmost point of North Harbour, White Point, beach front on the westernmost part of Sovereign Harbour and Macauley Drive, off Pacific Drive and the A 259, the easternmost part of the Sovereign Harbour complex.

 

Admiralty Court BN23 5PN. Managed by Admiralty Court Flat Management Ltd. Company number 04171938.
Admiralty Way BN23 5PP, 5PW
Anchorage Way BN23 5BE
Anguilla Close BN23 5TS
Antigua Close BN23 5SZ
Arequipa Reef BN23 5AG
Atlantic Drive BN23 5SW
Auckland Quay BN23 5AN
Barbuda Quay BN23 5SX, 5TT
Barrier Reef Way BN23 5PE
Belvedere BN23 5NJ
Bermuda Place BN23 5TE
Boston Close BN23 5RA
Brisbane Quay BN23 5PD

Callao Quay

BN23 5AA, 5AB
Campbell Mews  BN23 5AH
Canary Quay  BN23 5UT
Caroline Way BN23 5AX. 5AY
Chatham Green BN23 5PQ, 5PY
Christchurch Place BN23 5AP
Coral Reef Close BN23 5PF
Daytona Quay BN23 5BN
Dominica Court BN23 5TR
Ensenada Reef BN23 5AF
Eugene Way BN23 5BH. Part of Chatsworth Strand 5 buildings development.
Falmouth Close BN23 5RN, 5RW
Galveston Close BN23 5RH
Golden Gate Mews BN23 5PS
Golden Gate Way BN23 5PR, 5PT, 5PU
Grenada Close BN23 5TJ
Hamilton Quay BN23 5PX, 5PZ. North Harbour. With brick car parking area underneath. The most central of the harbour areas and with some of the most expensive homes.
Harbour Quay BN23 5QF, 5QG. The most common council tax band is E. Estimated residential property values, based on historical transactions and adjusted for inflation, range from £311,346 to £1,078,437 with an average of £454,758. Housing types are typically flats/apartments. 78% of house sales here since 1995 have been new builds.
Havana Court BN23 5UH
Hobart Quay BN23 5PB
Howland Close BN23 5AJ
Hudson Close BN23 5RB
Jamaica Way BN23 5UA

Johnston Place

BN23 5AS

Kensington

BN23 5NH
Key West BN23 5TD
Kingston Quay BN23 5UP
La Serena Place BN23 5AE
Leeward Quay BN23 5UD
Long Beach Close BN23 5QA
Long Beach Mews BN23 5NF
Long Beach View BN23 5NA, 5NB, 5NE
Macauley Drive BN23 5BU. Approached via A259 and Pacific Drive, Sovereign Harbour North.  The northernmost part of Sovereign Harbour.  A large development by J W. Stratton begun in 2017 of 70 homes including a range of house types of 3-4 bedroom detached and semi-detached homes freehold with car port advertised in 2020 from £355,000 freehold). Freehold is not in fee simple.  And 2-bedroom apartments or flats (leasehold). 
Madeira Way BN23 5UJ, 5UL, 5UQ, 5UN. 5UG
Macquarie Quay

BN23 5AT, 5AU, 5AW.  Originally Victoria Quay. 

Martinique Way BN23 5TH, 5TR, 5TS
Midway Quay BN23 5DD, 5DE, 5DF, 5DG
Ocho Rios Mews BN23 5UB
Pacific Drive BN23 5BJ, 6DW
Palmyra Place  BN23 5AD
Phoenix Drive BN23 5PG, 5PH, 5PJ, 5PL

Pierpoint Mews 

BN23 5NL
Pitcairn Avenue BN23 5BB
Plymouth Close BN23 5RL
Port Moresby Place  BN23 5BL
Quebec Close BN23 5RJ
Salvador Close BN23 5TB
Samoa Way BN23 5BA
San Diego Way BN23 5BG. Part of Chatsworth Strand 5 buildings development.
San Juan Court BN23 5TP
Santa Cruz Drive BN23 5SS, 5ST, 5SU, 5TA, 5TU, 5TW, 5TX, 5TY, 5TZ
Santos Wharf BN23 5UR
St. Kitts Drive BN23 5TL, 5TN
St. Lawrence Mews BN23 5QD
St. Lawrence Place  BN23 5QB
St. Lawrence Way  BN23 5QE
St. Lucia Walk BN23 5SY
Silver Strand East  BN23 5NN
Silver Strand West BN23 5NP
Solomon's Close BN23 5BD
Southampton Close  BN23 5RP
Tambora Square BN23 5BT
Tasmania Way BN23 5PA
The Piazza BN23 5TG,  5TQ
The Portlands BN23 5RD
The Waterfront BN23 5UZ
Trujillo Court, Callao Quay BN23 5AB. Managed by Trujillo Court Ltd. Company no 0564090.
Vancouver Road BN23 5BF
Wellington Close BN23 5AR
Wellington Quay  BN23 5AQ
Windward Quay 5UE, 5UF
White Point BN23 5BP.

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Admiralty Court

BN23 5PN. North Harbour.  Residential units. Managed by Admiralty Court Flat Management Ltd. Company number 04171938.

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Beaches in Sovereign Harbour North and South are private, not public

Sovereign North Harbour Beach

Thousands of members of the public who are not Sovereign Harbour residents use these beaches every year, most believing, wrongly, they are publicly owned. Bay View Holiday Park, adjacent to Sovereign Harbour, tells its customers the Sovereign Harbour North beach is public. It is not. In fact, it costs owners of each Sovereign Harbour flat or house £263.55 a year as an annual Estate Rentcharge in 2020 to live here and enjoy the beaches. It is deeply resented when non-residents of Sovereign Harbour who are not guests of residents use these beaches at no charge.

If they were indeed public beaches, which they are not, they would be listed in the same way as other EBC beaches by the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC); there would be be no Annual Estate Rentcharge;  and the EBC would be providing some types of beach furniture such as benches, life bouys and the like. They do not. In fact, while they regularly clean and maintain other Eastbourne beaches the EBC has disclaimed any responsibility for doing so on any Sovereign Harbour beaches.

Many non-residents who take advantage of these beaches abuse them by littering, leaving broken glass from bottles, vandalizing signs and plants or allowing their dogs to run free, fouling the beach. Far too many fail to pick up their dogs’ faeces. In the hottest months of June 2020 when 2 metre Covid 19 pandemic social distancing was in effect, this was routinely ignored, risking not only those who swam or cavorted or gathered or had picnics but residents in private properties near to or opposite them. Who pays for this non-residents' misuse? Residents. Once, residents willingly cleaned up the beaches and pathways resulting from non-resident litter-louts. But no longer. 

At times in June, July, August and September, it is so bad that residents of the properties opposite the beaches, who live on properties that include the beachfront across the walkways and surely have or should have some exclusivity but do not, were unable to use areas of the beaches because they are occupied by non-resident members of the public, some of whom really annoy local residents when they leave their trash and/or play radios loudly and/or allow their dogs to poop and don't clean up after them.

No cycling on walkways above the beaches! They are walkways for pedestrians and this is clearly marked on cyclists maps and by cycling organizations. Cyclists who ignore cycling restrictions and hit and injure a pedestrian who is able or disabled will find themselves in court, prosecuted by the injured. The walkways on the beach and harbour-side are accessible to both wheelchair and mobility scooters but not cycles. When a person is injured by a cyclist on a beach walkway, liability also falls to the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council.

Because it is a private beach not a public one there are 

Beaches cannot be used by the resident or visiting disabled or those with balance or walking difficulties. Why? There is too much of a downward and upward slope of the pebbles for those with either mobility or walking problems or in a wheelchair.

Who owns them?  There are no signs stating this, as there should be. In the case of the beachfront areas opposite the five buildings of the Chatsworth Strand development off San Diego Way, the buildings are owned by Jones Homes Ltd and managing agents are Ross & Co. Other parts of the beach and beachfront are owned by the developers of the properties opposite their part of the beachfront and across the pedestrian walkway. Their properties extend from where they are all the way to the high water mark. Although responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the beach up to the high water mark, the management companies of the developments concerned have declined to undertake any maintenance or upkeep, or enforce any requirements with regard to anti-social behavior, dog fouling and litter.

Unfortunately for residents who live in the apartment buildings opposite the beaches, the public is allowed by the landlord developers of each property to use these pebble beaches.  But there is an important proviso that needs to be noted. It is that as far as the developers are concerned you do so entirely at your own risk with the developers not responsible for any land or see accident, injury or death. However, a good solicitor will challenge this blanket no-fault waiver.

These beaches are legally, geographically and physically in the town of Eastbourne's Sovereign Ward area and residents pay their council and council-tax-related taxes to both Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex Borough Council. This surely should mean that the present arrangement whereby the Pevensey Bay entity that presently exclusively both controls these beaches at the behest of the Sovereign Harbour Trust and Environment Agency and gets 3,704 local residents (but no one else) to pay for the flood defences that also cover a much wider area involving more than 17,000 residents all the way to Bexhill, should be abolished, with these beaches at long last fully incorporated into Eastbourne's listing of public town beaches. 

In 2007 Natural England designated these beaches a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. 

While the general public continues to freely use and abuse them and are not stopped by the beach owners  they should not be considered as private beaches but should be forced by the councils authorities concerned to be re-classified as public beaches. In the meantime, Sovereign Harbour beachfront area residents are not getting value for money for the beachfront flood  defence and harbour defences they alone, nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world, are required to pay to the Environment Agency.

Beaches below the high water mark are owned by the Eastbourne Borough Council and/or East Sussex Borough Council. So why don't they pay their part of the cost of annual flood protection that would come as a possible flood from the sea at these beaches, otherwise known as the Annual Estate Rentcharge, misleadingly referred to by estate agents as the Sovereign Harbour charge, covering a much wider area than just Sovereign Harbour? Payment is made solely, massively unfairly, only by the 2,400 or residents of Sovereign Harbour beachside and nearby buildings, not by any of the 17,000 other residents of the flood protection zone stretching all the way to Cooden Beach in Bexhill. 

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges. In the distance, Sovereign Harbour Martello Tower 64 at North Beach)

Nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world where there are shingle or sand or both beaches and have flood areas imposes such a charge solely on local residents. Neither beach appears on any Eastbourne town beach maps (they extend only as far as groyne number 94 the Langney roundabout, not further east). See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/_resources/assets/inline/full/0/209207.pdf. It may be because this beach did not exist when the last Eastbourne Borough Council beach areas were last codified, generations ago. Consequently, regulations applicable to other Eastbourne beaches and relevant to control of dog-walking, dog messes and other beach activities such as barbeques, etc. that should apply here, do not. Yet the Eastbourne Borough Council has now long included the Sovereign Ward as one of its council areas for council tax, education, voting and other purposes. It needs to now amend its beaches listing to include this Sovereign North Harbour Beach (and its neighbor the Sovereign South Harbour Beach).  Until it does so, the council has been unable to act in any of the numerous complaints about dog fouling and more from local beachside and other owner residents, many of whom in fact pay more in council taxes than in other parts of Eastbourne

In Sovereign Harbour, to report  a seafront issue,  the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) states it is unable to respond. This makes the EBC the only local authority not only in the whole of the UK but also in the rest of the world with a beach in the local authority's jurisdiction over which it does not regulate or have oversight or receive complaints and it is not responsible. Thus dogs on leashes abuses are not addressed by the Eastbourne Borough Council.

North East Beach

A shingle beach, located to the north east of Eastbourne, at Sovereign Harbour North, mid-way between Langney Point and Pevensey Bay. From here, walkers can walk all the way to Pevensey Bay beach.  This beach is not connected to the Sovereign Harbour South Beach because the sea entrance to Sovereign Harbour lies between. Its principal features are the Martello Tower 64 (see below), the signposted SS Barnhill Wreck Site, see http://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/info-board-on-wreck-unveiled-at-harbour-1-6673014, and the spit of land at the harbour mouth from which can be seen the outer harbour of the 5-harbour Sovereign Harbour complex. 

Martello Tower 64

Martello Tower 64. Photo cc this author

South West Beach

Not connected to the Sovereign Harbour North Beach because the sea entrance to Sovereign Harbour lies between. There is no longer a  Martello Tower 65, it was claimed by the sea generations ago. Unique to South east coast of England, with only two of them ever built abroad (at then-British Army posts in Barbuda, Caribbean and Bermuda, North Atlantic). Martello Tower 64 (see on North Beach, above) and 66 (below, here in South Beach) are historic monuments. The first includes both a Martello tower and a World War II gun emplacement on top of it, The tower, which is Listed Grade II, lies around 1km north east of its surviving neighbor, tower no 66. Martello tower 64 retains many of its original components. It is one (like 66) of the surviving examples of a series of low-lying towers, designed to defend a specific stretch of coastline. The addition of a gun emplacement during World War II represents the continued significance of this defensive position well into the 20th century.  Martello towers were gun towers constructed to defend the vulnerable south eastern coast of England against the threat of ship-borne invasion by Napoleonic forces. They were built as a systematic chain of defence in two phases, between 1805-1810 along the coasts of East Sussex and Kent, and between 1808- 1812 along the coasts of Essex and Suffolk. They are referred to as Martello Towers because their design was based on a fortified tower at Martello Point in Corsica which had put up a prolonged resistance to British forces in 1793. 

Martello Tower 66

South Harbour Beach with Martello Tower 66

The towers take the form of compact, free-standing circular buildings on three levels built of rendered brick. The towers were numbered 1-74 from east to west, while those of the east coast were identified by a system of letters (A-Z, and then AA-CC) from south to north. Although they exhibit a marked uniformity of design, minor variations are discernible between the southern and eastern groups and amongst individual towers, due mainly to the practice of entrusting their construction to local sub-contractors. Most southern towers are elliptical in plan, whilst the eastern group are oval or cam-shaped externally, with axes at the base ranging between 14.4m by 13.5m and 16.9m by 17.7m. All are circular internally, the battered (inwardly sloping) walls of varying thicknesses, but with the thickest section invariably facing the seaward side. Most stand to a height of around 10m. Many Martello towers are surrounded by dry moats originally encircled by counterscarp banks, and/or have cunettes (narrower water defences) situated at the foot of the tower wall. The ground floor was used for storage, with accommodation for the garrison provided on the first floor, and the main gun platform on the roof. The southern towers carried a single 24 pounder cannon, whilst the eastern line carried three guns (usually a 24 pounder cannon and two shorter guns or howitzers). Three large, circular ten- gun towers known as redoubts were also constructed at particularly vulnerable points, at Dymchurch, Eastbourne and Harwich. As the expected Napoleonic invasion attempt did not materialize, the defensive strength of the Martello tower system was never tested, and the tower design was soon rendered obsolete by new developments in heavy artillery. Many were abandoned and fell into decay or were demolished during the 19th century, although some continued in use into the 20th century as signaling or coastguard stations and a few saw use as look out points or gun emplacements during the two World Wars. Of the original 74 towers on the south coast, 26 now survive, and of the 29 on the east coast, 17 now survive. Those which survive well and display a diversity of original components are considered to merit protection.

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Books about the area and Crumbles Murders 

The area now part of the harbour was once known as the Crumbles. Books include:

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Bridges

There are several to cross over by foot or bike or mobility scooter only, no cars allowed. In the photo below, the main moving bridge is shown. 

Sovereign Harbour bridge

When in the raised position as in the photo, only vessels can pass underneath, to get to or from Sovereign Harbour North. All pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters must wait before they can get to or from The Waterfront with its nice restaurants and shops and, a short distance away, The busy Crumbles retail shopping centre. The bridge opens frequently daily, by pre-arranged signal from Sovereign Harbour berth holders or visitors or the harbours' tour boat. 

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Bus Times

From Sovereign Harbour North, Pacific Drive. Routes 5 (Monday to Saturday) and 5a (Sundays and Bank Holidays), to/from Eastbourne. Terminus Road, normally 24 minutes. 

See https://bustimes.org/services/5a-sovereign-harbour-eastbourne

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Churches/Places of Worship

None in Sovereign Harbour itself but several are close by.

churches 

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Citizen's Advice Bureau, Eastbourne

See http://www.eastbournecab.co.uk/ 

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Columbus Point Water Feature 

 2020 cost per residential unit in the water feature precinct is over £315 per year. See waterfeature.eu/. 

Sovereign Harbour South.  This anchor-shaped water feature, comprising canals, cascades and fountains, is one of the largest of its type in Europe and runs much of the private residential area of Columbus Point in Sovereign Harbour South. Owners of 369 residential properties in the area are covenanted in their deeds to pay for the management, running and maintenance of the water feature. Water in the feature is dosed with chemicals to restrict algae growth, this entering the water is prohibited, should not be paddled or stepped or swum in. The annual cost to neighboring residents is not noted in any estate agent marketing. (There is an additional covenant, the Annual Estate Rental Charge, wrongly referred to as merely a Harbour Charge, £263.55 in 2020, also not noted on most estate agents property listings).

Columbus Point Water Feature

part of Columbus Point Water Feature

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Community Centre

Sovereign Harbour Community Centre locationFinally opened in November 2019.  Site 6, Easter Island Place instead of Site 5 as approved/decided in 2012, of modular construction.  Phone 01323 509859 to make bookings.  

Has a schedule of charges for entities to hold meetings. 

Firmly promised by local councillors in April 2018. Should have been built in 2005. Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County Council both stated it would be completed before councils allowed any construction of new residential buildings but buildings came first by over 15 years. 

Changes galore resulted in the final plan being about 25% reduced in size compared to the original. The project cost over £1.6 million, with £800,000 pledged from Carillion/SHL (since liquidated in January 2018) but paid up, £400,000 from Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) and £400,000 from the East Sussex County Council. 

Ownership of the facility is vested in the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). The  EBC appointed Sea Change Sussex, a not-for-profit economic development company, to oversee delivery of the project after the former Sovereign Harbour Community Association, once envisaged to manage the complex and the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association both declined to get involved. 

Managed by Wave Leisure Trust, a charitable not-for-profit trust. The facility has a kitchen but when completed and opened contained no kitchen equipment such as a sink, stove, etc - unlike all other community centres in all four devolved countries of the UK. 

 

Planned new Sovereign Harbour Community CentreSovereign Harbour Community Centre again

Artist's impressions of planned new Sovereign Harbour Community Centre

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Sovereign Harbour North 3

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Sovereign Harbour North, another part of marina. Photo cc Keith and Lois Forbes

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Cycling is OK only on Atlantic Drive and Pacific Drive

Only the marked cycle way pavements along Atlantic and Pacific Drives in South and North Harbours respectively, should be used by cyclists. They are shared with pedestrians and are marked as shown below.

marked cycle route on left, shared with pedestrians, right

All  pathways, footways, walkways of inner and outer Sovereign Harbour without the cycle route sign shown are not cycle routes. If they were they would have signs. Eastbourne Borough Council, in which Sovereign Ward councillors are a part, have made it a point to BAN cyclists along much of Eastbourne's much wider beachfront and seafront promenade. But they ALLOW cyclists to ride along the much narrower pathways and footways of beachfront and seafront Sovereign Harbour.

On the Eastbourne Promenade, 6 metres wide, signs state NO Cycling, an Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) byelaw. 

No cycling sign 1 on Eastbourne Promenade

No cycling sign 2 on Eastbourne Promenade

But on the Sovereign Harbour North Beach walkway, 2 metres wide - a third of the width of the Eastbourne Promenade - the EBC allows cyclists. 

cyclistsOf particular concern to residents is the daily misuse by cyclists of Sovereign Harbour walkways and pathways. Every day, individual cyclists or couples on cycles and often their children on bikes go alongside each other, regularly.  Single and groups of cyclists mis-use the Sovereign Harbour North beachfront narrow footpath, going very fast or ringing their bells or shouting at walkers to get out their way, or weaving in between walkers and frightening them. When residents walking carefully and slowly have attempted to speak to and reason with them, they are often abused by cyclists, told to shut up or are sworn at. One Sovereign Harbour North Beach walkway, only nine feet wide, was built for walkers, not cyclists who often outnumber the walkers. Cyclists deliberately ignore the established and clearly cycle-marked pavements of Atlantic Drive and Pacific Drive with their wide purpose-built pavement built as a shared way for both pedestrians and cyclists. They unfairly demand and mis-use the scenic pedestrian or walking pathways and almost totally ignore the established cycle routes. 

Many Sovereign Harbour residents are slow and awkward walkers with constant balance and risk-of-falling problems on narrow walkways. They and their carers who walk alongside them because they need to be close to them for if and when they fall , need plenty of space for this. When they are forced to make way - as they all too often are - for fast or furious or groups of cyclists who refuse to make way to these walkers, serious accidents could happen and have happened, with the innocent parties requiring medical attention. 

Residents really suffer from the attitudes of many cyclists, particularly including those who are not resident but are holiday lodging at the three nearby caravan parks less than a mile away to the east. They treat this private pathway and other harbour areas not as private pathways but as public cycle routes. 

They do not pay any cycle taxes, have caused thousands of accidents with walkers, and surely, in this day and age, if they want more rights, should be taxed for the roads they use and fined for the non-cycle paths they deliberately and often contemptuously misuse  They want to be able to ride cost free from Eastbourne to Bexhill on Sea, right through Sovereign Harbour.  

The menace of Bespoke. The cycling organization Bespoke has campaigned for over 10 years to allow unrestricted cycling on Eastbourne's promenade despite an EBC bye-law that has prohibited this for good reasons, one of them being that Eastbourne has the highest concentration of elderly, vulnerable and mobility-impaired people in the entire UK and the EBC as well as police have a statutory public authority duty under the UK's Equality Act to give particular care and attention to the disabled and vulnerable, many of whom, on the flat and wide paved promenade pathway, have the space to walk accompanied by carers at their side. Bespoke has also indicated it demands similar access to Sovereign Harbour. Bespoke refuses to condemn shared areas. Nor has Bespoke ever conceded that cycling amongst pedestrians even on fast moving electric bikes is potentially unsafe, or expressed any concerns that it is dangerous to older and disabled residents.

What we hope will be of particular relevance is something not mentioned at all elsewhere to the best of our knowledge and belief. It may perhaps be deliberately omitted. It is a particularly significant and hopefully overriding fact. It is that all Sovereign Harbour walkways and pathways are on private, not public, land. So how can they possibly be considered by any Member of Parliament or parliamentary committee or Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex Borough Council for any public cyclist usage? Because of this they should not be compared - yet have been - to any other public areas or roads or pathways in the UK or Europe or world where cycling is permitted and encouraged by local, regional and national authorities as an active exercise.  

Sovereign Harbour Councillors from the Eastbourne Borough Council illegally - in clear defiance of the Equality Act and its provisions - allow instead of prohibiting cyclists to ride on privately owned Sovereign Harbour walkways, pathways and footpaths, often dangerously in defiance of walkers, pedestrians, runners, the  elderly, vulnerable, disabled and children. Councillors should be protecting and supporting their constituents by (a) realizing that under the Equality Act cyclists should walk not ride their cycles so as not to have a speed advantage over pedestrians and the vulnerable and (b) requiring cyclists to keep to the registered cycle track shared areas of council-adopted Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. 

Cyclists, councillors and more need to know that recently from a Guardian newspaper report - see https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/feb/24/cyclist-settles-for-30000-pounds-after-hitting-pedestrian-who-was-looking-at-phone - that a cyclist who knocked over a woman who was looking at her mobile phone while crossing a road was then was successfully sued by the woman concerned. Both the cyclist, Robert Hazeldean, a garden designer, and the pedestrian, Gemma Brushett, who works in finance and also ran yoga retreats, were left unconscious after the rush-hour collision in July 2015. The case exposed how vulnerable uninsured cyclists are to expensive civil claims if they are involved in accidents. Brushett’s lawyers had claimed costs of £112,000 – a sum that would have left Hazeldean facing bankruptcy since he was uninsured. Hazeldean later agreed to settle the case for £30,000 on top of damages of £4,300 and his own costs of more than £25,000.  This case will be worrying for uninsured cyclists in Sovereign Harbour and the councils concerned who do not object to cyclists using and misusing the harbour's walkways and pathways. 

Councillors allow instead of prohibit cyclists to ride on Sovereign Harbour walkways, pathways and footpaths, often dangerously in defiance of walkers, pedestrians, runners, the  elderly, vulnerable, disabled and children, despite Covid 19 social distancing orders from central government.

Councillors should be protecting and supporting their constituents by (a) realizing that under the Equality Act cyclists should walk not ride their cycles so as not to have a speed advantage over pedestrians and the vulnerable and (b) requiring cyclists to keep to the registered cycle track shared areas of council-adopted Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. 

With Covid 19 so prevalent in the UK since March 2020, EBC councillors are not insisting as they should and as central government requires all including councillors to abide by, that social distancing be as mandatory on Sovereign Harbour's walkways and pavements as they are elsewhere. Two cyclists passing in opposite direction need approximately three metres of space to maintain a two metre gap. On a two metre path, such as exists long Sovereign Harbour North's beachfront, social distancing is impossible. Thus such paths need to be closed to cyclists instead of councillors permitting them. It is time County and Borough adhered to government's central advice on what constitutes quality walking and cycling  active travel) strategies.

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Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association (ESHDA)

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Eastbourne Borough  Council and East Sussex County Council Councillors for Sovereign Harbour

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Eastbourne Lifeboat RNLI

Based in Sovereign Harbour. See eastbournernli.org/. 

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Estate Agents & Properties for Sale or Rent

See under "Buying a Sovereign Harbour Property - guidelines"

For Sale sign

Each residential unit is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

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Fisherman's Quay

Fisherman's Quay

Phase 1 of construction has commenced, following a Government grant of £1.08 million via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. A newly formed Community Interest Company will be dealing with the acquisition and management of the quay in the future. Current plans allow for a range of traditional black net huts, all built from sustainable and considerate materials, workshops, offices, wet-fish sales and a fishing 'learning centre', perhaps with an aquarium of local fish species. There will also be a 'fish-market' promenade and consideration is being given to a a cuttle-fish breeding station to provide for local stocks of cuttle-fish for the future. When the current phase in completed there will be space for cold storage and fish processing  plus a retail sales shop for locally caught fish. It will then be interesting to see compare prices of this Fisherman's Quay unit with those of the fish shop in Eastbourne where some Sovereign Harbour residents go, and prices at ASDA and Tesco. Currently, prices of fish are appreciatively less expensive at supermarkets than at the fish shops. 

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Flood zones areas 

For home and content for insurance.

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Hamilton Quay

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Hamilton Quay

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Harbour Medical Practice

1 Pacific Avenue, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6DW. See https://www.harbourmedicalpractice.co.uk. With the Covid 19 crisis no drop-in without an appointment visits are allowed. One of the largest medical practice's in the country, with about 7,500 NHS patients in and beyond Sovereign Harbour North and South. A good practice, a first-class facility, with doctors, nurses and support staff, in a modern building with its own spacious car park and 2 disabled access bays immediately in front of the building. Patients requiring hospitalization are sent to Eastbourne General Hospital or Conquest Hospital in St. Leonard's in Hastings, or, when needed, Royal Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and Guys Hospital in London. The practice has a Patient Participation Group (PPG)

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Harbour Multi-purpose bins installed due to dog poo, litter and rubbish 300% increase since Covid 19

New multi-use ones, for dog poo, litter and rubbish, have been installed around the harbour (but not on the North and South harbour beaches) following numerous requests from residents for more bins. This is because since the Covid-19 lockdown mostly non-residents (who presently do not pay to enter and enjoy the amenities of the harbour) and some residents have vastly increased their non-pickup of their dog poo deposits and purchased at least 300% more take-away foods than ever before, the packaging of which has been left on the walkways, particularly on the Harbour walkways close to the Waterfront complex, to much concern. To help fund the cost of the new bins £2,000 was donated by Sovereign Ward councillors from their Devolved Budget.  (This has also made residents more aware than ever before -  because they, not the non-resident public who visit but don't pay anything, are the ones who have to pay for the cleanup in their annual Estate Rentcharges - of the need for non-residents to at least pay a token fee of £1 per visit. 

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Harbour Police

Patrol occasionally. When in attendance they operate from the town of Eastbourne, not from a local station.

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Harbour apartment/flat rentals

There are lots of websites advising of the availability of these for both short term (by the week, fortnight or month) and long-term (a year or more) rentals but none give all the salient facts which should include:

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Harbour Seating

Not available in all areas of the harbour for casual passers-by or those who are disabled or mobility impaired, cannot walk far and need a bench to stop. The problem is that the Eastbourne Borough Council is apparently required to consult residents within 50 metres of the proposed seats. In the past, residents who were consulted objected on the grounds that seating would cause rowdy behaviour and so the council did not feel able to support the installation of such seating. However, experience with existing seating, such as that near Midway Quay, suggests that this is not the case. Local officials have proposed extra seating benches in the inner harbour and outer harbour. It is hoped they will be sited as far as possible from local flats and houses in the hope that no significant objections will be raised. However, social distancing requirements mean that it is difficult to make progress with these plans.

Part of Sovereign Harbour at dusk. Photo cc these authors, Keith and Lois Forbes

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Hotels nearby

None. Initially, the White Point site mentioned by name below was earmarked for an hotel, with plenty of parking. Later, this was withdrawn, much to the disappointment of Sovereign Harbour residents who object to having to go not close by but all the way into town in usually heavy traffic to find a good hotel with limited or no parking. The nearest budget hotel, several miles away, is a Premier Inn. 

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Internet and WIFI restriction and non-resident interference

Berth holders have a separate WIFI option through Premier Marinas. But for land-based residents, most medium-speed services are available but not high-speed. Services like Virgin Media Ultrafast Fibre - the fastest available in most other areas -  are unfortunately not available in Sovereign Harbour, even after four years of some Sovereign Harbour residents having expressed specific interest.

With no Sovereign Harbour residents leasehold and freehold having exclusive use of the communal areas of the private lands on where they live, owned by the developers of their properties, beachside and harbour-side residents should note that casual passers-by including people who do not live in Sovereign Harbour, who walk or cycle along Sovereign Harbour walkways and pathways near their homes, will poach their WIFI signals if they are not appropriately protected. Campers from nearby campsites in Pevensey Bay are often seen with their mobile phones or tablets walking and mobile-phone talking along Sovereign Harbour and beaches pathways and walkways. Many properties along them have WIFI signals which can be captured 50-100 feet away on those pathways and walkways. In other areas beyond Sovereign Harbour, private lands give their private residents exclusive access to their lands, not public use, and their WIFI cannot be reached by the non-resident public.

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Locks & Procedure

Open 24 hours a day at specific or pre-ordered times, with a signal showing green or red. All vessels need  to pass through a lock to get to or from the sea. At the lock entrance, when closed to marine traffic a narrow iron pedestrian bridge allows pedestrians to walk from North to South Harbours and beyond. When open to marine traffic the bridge is closed to pedestrians.

Sovereign Harbour Lock

In the photo, the lock is empty but in spring, summer and autumn it is often full of yachts and motor boats, with curious onlookers on either side.

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Macauley Drive

Approached via A259 and Pacific Drive, Sovereign Harbour North.  The northernmost part of Sovereign Harbour.  A large development by J W. Stratton begun in 2017 of 70 homes including a range of house types of 3-4 bedroom detached and semi-detached homes freehold with car port advertised in 2020 from £355,000 freehold). Freehold is not in fee simple.  And 2-bedroom apartments or flats (leasehold). All are subject to an management fee and like the rest of Sovereign Harbour, to the latter's unique-in-the-world Annual Estate Rentcharge, a fact not stated in the marketing brochures.  The builder/developer paid a premium to the local authorities to ensure there no social/affordable housing included in this development. The contemporary style of the architectural design is reflected in the specification and finish. Adjacent to the development will be a fully landscaped open space with planting, footpaths etc. This was a condition of the planning assent for the development and one of the stipulations was that it needed to be completed prior to occupation of 40% of the units on site. The present committee has had discussions with the developer and improvements to the plans have been agreed. These include planting trees and additional seating. Eastbourne Borough Council was required to liaise with the developer to align the plant species closer with the councils’ pollinator policy and will look at wildflower planting in some areas. Occupants, all owners or leaseholders in Sovereign Harbour and paying annual estate rentcharge fees, have access to all Sovereign Harbour facilities. The Eastbourne Borough Council is required to install a pedestrian crossing on Pacific Drive and East Sussex County Council a bus shelter on Pevensey Bay Road.

Macauley Place

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

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Macquarie Quay

Macquarie Key also showing harrbour-side penestrian footpath

BN23 5AT, 5AU, 5AW.  Originally Victoria Quay. The most central of all Sovereign Harbour properties. In North Harbour it faces the Inner Harbour. The development was completed around 2005 by Persimmon Homes. It consists of 175 properties (147 apartments and 28 town houses). It was later renamed Macquarie Quay, but the management company name has remained the same, Victoria Quay Management Company Ltd. The board of directors, consists of voluntary freeholder / leaseholder (residents), have a duty of care to the other freeholder / leaseholders to oversee the smooth running of the site. Those directors appointed Sensible Property Management as the managing agent for the development. They are the first point of contact for residents to acquire service or information. The directors also appointed Plummer Parsons Ltd, as the company accountants.  Their address is the registered office for Victoria Quay management company Ltd. Some flats face the sea, others the inner harbour with a few looking out to the north to other buildings.

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Martello Tower 64

Site 9. North Harbour Beach opposite Caroline Way. The Martello Tower is a Grade II Listed Building and a Scheduled Monument.  It is owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. who have retained access to the building from Caroline Way.  The building is currently in a poor state of repair and is on the buildings at risk register. The Tower could in principle be converted into an alternative use, and because it is important to secure the long term repair and maintenance of the Tower, conversion could be supported subject to discussion with English Heritage.  However, given its remote and exposed location, and due to its poor state of repair and the associated costs of refurbishment, conversion is considered unlikely.

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Member of Parliament

Caroline Ansell, since December 12, 2019, Eastbourne & Willingdon.
Conservative. Phone 01323 734940. Email caroline@carolineansell.co.uk Website carolineansell.co.uk. If you try to reach her by email you may or will get this message.  "As I’m sure you will understand I receive a large number of emails, letters and phone calls each day and I will try to reply to you as quickly as possible. If you are one of my constituents, please ensure you have included your full name and address. If you haven’t, please resend your email with this information. Please note that Parliamentary rules prevent an MP dealing with enquiries from another MP’s constituents. Please note that if you copy me in to an email, its contents will be noted but no further action will be taken unless it is part of a piece of ongoing casework."

In 2020 she was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice.The unpaid promotion means she becomes the ‘eyes and ears’ of the minister in parliament and liaises with MPs on his behalf. She was given this role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and believes Eastbourne will benefit as it is a coastal and a rural constituency and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Bills going through parliament in 2020. DEFRA is driving these landmark pieces of legislation to protect the environment, tackle plastic pollution, improve air and water quality and incentivise farmers to enhance soil quality and further raise environmental and animal welfare standards.

She has said: “These are issues at the heart of what many Eastbourne and Willingdon residents care about and they will very much tie in with the town’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.” But nothing has been stated by our MP about at last freeing Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour at long last from the substantial annual estate rentcharges freeholders andd leaseholders are have to pay that all other parts of Eastbourne do not; the flood defence charges Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders also have to pay to the Environment Agency that all other homeowners in all other parts of both Eastbourne and the rest of the UK do not.

A PPS is not technically part of the government however, they are expected to support it in votes and must resign if they vote against the government. Which means in effect that Caroline Ansell is presently unwilling or unable to make an individual MP's case about these unique-to-Sovereign Harbour injustices with other Conservative MPs including Huw Merriman whose Bexhill & Battle constituency is next door to Eastbourne and whose 14.400 or so constituent freeholders pay nothing for flood defence over and above their general taxes, unlike the 4,200 or so Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders who alone in the UK, Europe and the world have to pay £263.55 in addition to their general taxes per home in 2020. 

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Money-saving tips when shopping locally

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Nearest Airports

Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, is about 3 miles or 20-40 minutes depending on traffic by car from the Eastbourne town centre, around 18 miles east of Brighton and approximately 20 miles west of Hastings, with the A27 connecting all three locations.

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Pacific House

Innovation Park. A 2,300 metre office block at the entrance to Pacific Drive, North Harbour. Can accommodate up to 70 small to medium business entities, or fewer larger ones. With its own spacious parking area. Of all the available office spaces in Eastbourne and nearby, this is the most expensive by far, as revealed in November 2019.

Pacific House

Pacific House 

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Parking for residents

There are many separately managed multi-unit buildings, each with their own policy.
Some individual developments state their off-road private parking areas are numbered, with one per flat but they often extend this privately to certain residents. They also allow some vehicles to be parked there the owners of which do not live there at all. Some residents are allowed to have more than one  allocated space, with another at a cost. Most off-road parking at residential developments, even the most modern in Sovereign Harbour, appear to be either fixed at less than or just over one car per unit, in all cases including visitor parking. In comparison, in the USA. Canada, Europe and elsewhere, the norm since 2017 is one parking space for a one-bedroom apartment, two for a two-bedroom and three for a three-bedroom or more unit, plus 20% more of the parking spaces for visitor parking. In other parts of the UK most councils now require their planning departments to tell developers of off-road developments they must have two parking spaces for every two bedroom or three for every three-bedroom property plus one visitor space each .In comparison, most of the far fewer Sovereign Harbour undercroft or outside car parking spaces are both far fewer, not nearly enough and also a tight fit, perhaps OK for very small cars now and in the 1960s but not sized to comfortably fit even today's small SUV's or mid-size or larger cars compared to then.  As a result. parking is often a major problem in many Sovereign Harbour developments, both in terms of width and availability. Cars are often parked adjacent to dropped kerbs, obstructing access to the disabled on scooters or partly on pavements, obstructing passers-by, and constantly taking up one side of a narrow two-line road such as that section of Pacific Avenue from near the Port Moresby new development to the eastern roundabout

Car blocking an ambulance

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Cars at 16 San Diego Way, North Harbour, on 30 July 2017 obstructing an ambulance and other emergency vehicles from departing

Cars are often parked outside both buildings and their garages interfering with or hindering or blocking emergency access, even when there are vacant assigned or visitor parking spaces in that development. Other cars are parked equally dangerously nearby also hindering safe and fast emergency vehicles from accessing or leaving or both. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles need to park parallel with a building, to provide the closest possible access to their back door and the shortest distance to the building to receive or discharge patients. Also, some cars have been seen to partly park on pavements and in the process block lowered-curb roads and denying access for the disabled, or dangerously close to a street junction or sharp turn or in other traffic-disturbing areas. With regional hospitals having announced in May 2017 that stroke patients are now going to have to go to fewer specialist hospitals than before and with it now well-known that stroke patients need to be treated within an hour or they could die, ambulances need totally unimpeded access at all times. When flat-owners and car owners create the problems with their badly parked cars and deaths or life-threatening permanent injuries result,  lawsuits could be filed. 

No Disabled Parking Bay at your home. There are no specified and legally enforceable disabled parking spaces at any of the units of flats in the Sovereign Harbour area in their below-building or adjacent parking areas. The lack of disabled parking nearly everywhere is a major problem to residents who are disabled. Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council do not follow the example of European Union, USA and Canadian jurisdictions in requiring developers of private-area properties to have the same disability parking laws and provisions as in public or town or city areas.

Retail and shopping areas disabled parking areas. 60 are available at the Crumbles in front of ASDA and other stores  and 20 at the Waterfront complex. ASDA is complemented for having the largest number seen to date at any supermarket shopping centre in the UK. Unfortunately, all these disabled parking spaces are often misused and no local or police authority will prosecute miscreants. 

The Waterfront complex (see http://www.eastbourneharbour.com) describes Sovereign Harbour in which it is located as "Eastbourne's international experience" and the entire harbour area has street and quay names from prominent places around the world. But developers of Sovereign Harbour have not creating parking and disabled parking to international standards in local residential and shopping areas.

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Pets and pets policy

Pets not allowed in apartments and flats

Presently most Sovereign Harbour apartment buildings where residents are leasehold not freehold do not allow pets and this is specifically stated in most if not all of their leases.  But this does not apply in Sovereign Harbour freehold homes. Every day, pet owners both resident and non-resident walk their dogs on the two Sovereign Harbour beaches and most are careful to pick up their dog's messes. But some do not, to the disgust of other residents who, in wet months especially, will walk on the messes. 

2020. 4 January. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP today called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes as he announced an overhaul of the model tenancy contracts. More young people and families than ever before are renting or leasing and should be able to enjoy the happiness that a pet can bring to their lives. However, currently only around 7% of landlords advertise homes as suitable for pets, meaning many people struggle to find a home suitable for themselves and their pets. Some have been forced to give up their pets all together simply because they have been unable to move into a rented property with one. But the government’s model tenancy contracts for renters, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants, will now be revised to remove restrictions on well behaved pets - to ensure more landlords are catering for responsible pet owners wherever possible. The government is clear there should be a balance with responsible pet owners not being penalized and landlords being more flexible in their approach, and it is right that landlords’ properties should be protected from damage by badly behaved pets. But total bans on renters with pets should only be implemented where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. 

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: "Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property. So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both. This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognizing that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country." A revised model tenancy agreement is expected to be published by the government later this year.

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Pevensey Bay nearby 

East of Sovereign Harbour, extending nearly to Bexhill-On-Sea.  

Pevensey Parish Council. The modern parish of Pevensey has a population of approximately 4,000. It is situated in the district of Wealden (which has a supervisory Wealden District Council) in East Sussex, England, midway between the coastal towns of Eastbourne and Bexhill. It comprises the ancient village of Pevensey, the larger seaside resort of Pevensey Bay and some twelve kilometres of farmland on Pevensey Levels.

Pevensey Park Homes nuisances

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Port Moresby Place

Admiral John MoresbyBoth this Port Moresby Place in Eastbourne and Port Moresby in Papua named after Admiral John Moresby, Royal Navy. Moresby was born in Allerford, Somerset, England, the son of Eliza Louisa and Admiral of the Fleet Sir Fairfax Moresby. He joined the navy at an early age as a Volunteer 1st Class in HMS Victor, and rose to be in charge of the 1,031 ton paddle steamer cruiser HMS Basilisk in which he made hydrological surveys around eastern New Guinea. During the survey of the southern coast he discovered the harbour which he named Fairfax after his father. The town established there, based on already existing native villages (principally Hanuabada) was named Port Moresby and is now the nation's capital. Admiral John Moresby was also searching for a shorter route between Australia and China and on the eastern tip of the island he discovered the China Strait. He continued exploring along the north west coast as far as the Huon Gulf. On 29 September 1876, Moresby took command of HMS Endymion, remaining in this position until 6 March 1878. He was later promoted to rear admiral and died on 12 July 1922 in Fareham, Hampshire, England.

Sovereign Harbour's Port Moresby Place is a newly constructed semi-detached harbour front development of just eight houses with panoramic sea views over the inner harbour and the downs beyond. Sliding fully-glazed doors from the principal rooms lead to a terrace, with two upper balconies that fully exploit the glorious views. State-of-the-art design features include gas under-floor heating, bespoke kitchen units with work surfaces and a range of integrated NEFF appliances. Sanitary ware was supplied by Villeroy and Boch. Other benefits include a utility room, double garage and additional visitor parking. The Waterfront, where there are a range of cafes, bars and restaurants is within level walking distance.

Port Moresby, 8 residences, 4 buildings

Port Moresby Place, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne BN23 5BL. 4 buildings, two homes in each, Units 1-8

Each residential unit is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges. Port Moresby Management Ltd, see https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09315065/officers

Tenure: Leasehold. With each of the 8 homes in these four buildings having:

Front door. Entrance hall. Kitchen - 22'0" (6.71m) x 22'0" (6.71m). Terrace - 22'6" (6.86m) x 17'6" (5.33m). Cloakroom. Bedroom 2 - 14'6" (4.42m) x 10'0" (3.05m). Ensuite shower room.

First floor. Living room - 22'6" (6.86m) x 23'0" (7.01m). Balcony. Bedroom 3 3 - 15'6" (4.72m) x 8'9" (2.67m). Jack & Jill en suite. Bedroom 4/Study - 10'9" (3.28m) x 8'3" (2.51m).

Second floor. Master bedroom- 17'0" (5.18m) x 11'0" (3.35m). Terrace. Dressing room - 11'0" (3.35m) x 7'6" (2.29m). Bathroom. 

Lower ground floor. Utility Room. Double Garage. Visitors Parking. Leasehold, 999 year lease. Ground Rent, Peppercorn. Council Tax: H

Sales Record for each unit

This development is on 0.3 hectares owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. It is a narrow strip of land at the far end of the North Harbour bordering Pacific Drive. Consent was given for this land to be used as a berth-holder car park, and purchasers of adjacent properties were given assurances that there would be no residential development on this plot. However, the Eastbourne Borough Council allowed this to be reneged. The car park was never constructed and Sovereign Harbour Ltd acted aggressively to persuade the Borough Council that it should be used for high-density, high-rise residential development. The Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) had identified this site as ideal for a marina-side public open space. It was agreed between the EBC and Sovereign Harbour Ltd  that this would be funded by the construction of eight high quality homes, for which planning consent was granted under the name  Port Moresby Place The plan required 50% of the site, the land closest to the marina, to be paved and landscaped for public use.  A condition of the consent was that the public open space was to be completed before two thirds of the homes are sold.  This conditions was not met and in July 2018 EBC enforced the condition resulting in the sale of the final property being put on hold for four months.  With the open space almost complete the sale was eventually allowed to go through in December 2018. The open space was not fully completed until late 2019.

On harbour-side are several areas where boats can be docked, but none so far have used them. What really annoys other Sovereign Harbour Residents who live further down from this site is how and why cars and vans are constantly parked outside on the main Pacific Drive road, partially blocking it, yet there is plenty of both assigned and unassigned parking within the development. Residents tenants opposite this development on the other side of the road were cheated by the Eastbourne Borough Council and Sovereign Harbour Ltd out of their earlier-promised unrestricted view of the harbour when the local authority and Sovereign Harbour Ltd reneged on their promise and the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association did not come to their defence,

An Australian family who visited Eastbourne recently and viewed this development commented that there are very similar-looking buildings in Australia but they are not private homes, instead a prison farm headquarters buildings. Anyway, the name has stuck and when some local residents pass by this development with its buildings so unlike those of other properties, they refer to them not as Port Moresby Place but because they look more squat and white and not ordinarily residential, as Prison Farm HQ buildings.

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Residents Leisure Card

Sovereign Harbour residents qualify for this Eastbourne Borough Council discount parking concession at certain local facilities beyond the harbour.

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Royal Sovereign Lighthouse offshore, until later in 2020

end of Royal Sovereign Lighthouse Located five miles offshore directly opposite easternmost Sovereign Harbour. Scheduled for demolition later in 2020. Trinity House began preparation work to decommission Royal Sovereign Lighthouse. With a farewell blast from the lighthouse's fog signal, THV Winston Churchill towed away the last of the series of light vessels which had marked the Royal Sovereign station since 1875. It is intended that the now-deteriorating lighthouse will be completely removed clear to the seabed.  The Royal Sovereign Lighthouse was built in 1971 with a design life of 50 years. It was brought into operation at noon on 6 September 1971. Having monitored the fabric of the lighthouse over the last decade and observing the expected signs of deterioration, Trinity House concluded that the ongoing safety of the mariner requires that the structure be fully decommissioned. 

The Royal Sovereign Lighthouse has provided nearly 50 years of reliable service as an aid to navigation, one of over 600 that Trinity House operates for the benefit and safety of the mariner. In anticipation of its intention to remove Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, Trinity House has upgraded Beachy Head Lighthouse; it will also increase the capability of the offshore CS2 buoy and will retain the nearby Royal Sovereign buoy. The upgrade to Beachy Head Lighthouse has increased the number of solar panels around the base of its lantern gallery and included installation of a longer-range LED lantern, with the CS2 lighted buoy will also benefitting from an increase in range. Once Trinity House decommissions the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse as proposed, Beachy Head Lighthouse’s future is secured as the principal aid to navigation in the area.

Trinity House’s Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught said: it is never an easy decision to discontinue and even remove such a prominent aid to navigation, but the first priority will always be the safety of the mariner. Now that Royal Sovereign Lighthouse has reached the end of its serviceable life, it is time for us to take steps to ensure that the lighthouse itself does not become a hazard. There will be a lot of work involved for our engineers and our various other teams and we will be working extensively in collaboration with a number of organisations to ensure the success of this project."

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Dusk over Sovereign Harbour 

Each residential unit shown is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

Sovereign Outer Harbour at dusk 2.  Photo cc these authors, Keith and Lois Forbes

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Sovereign Harbour Residents Association

(Kindly contributed by a concerned Sovereign Harbour resident. A copy was sent to the SHRA but has been ignored). 

Established in 2000. It states it gives Harbour residents a strengthened and co-ordinated voice in all discussions on the management and development of Sovereign Harbour.  It claims to represent the interests of all, not just some harbour residents whether renting, leasing or owning. (But this has to be disputed, as will be shown below). Membership, via presentation of the membership card, brings discounts from certain local businesses (mostly located in premises owned by the Sovereign Harbour owners). The benefit of membership in return for the £10 is the 10% discount offered at some Sovereign Harbour or nearby establishments when a membership card is produced. The work of the SHRA is funded by a one-off, life membership subscription, presently £10, from members including everyone in their households, supplemented by commercial sponsorship of the SHRA web site and newsletter, "Waterlines. "  

But it has never complained about estate agents marketing Sovereign Harbour properties that deliberately do not specify that all owners and their successors of Sovereign Harbour properties offered for sale incur, uniquely in the UK, Europe and the World, a very expensive Annual Estate Rentcharge. See Code of Practice for All Residential Estate Agents at https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdf

They allow estate agents to get away with showing in as a deliberately misleading "harbour charge". Neither estate agents nor the SHRA state that as one of the charges in the Annual Estate Rentcharge, a flood charge is involved, of the type that nowhere else in the UK, Europe or the world do homeowners have to pay, only Sovereign Harbour residents.  The SHRA website has a separate section about the Annual Estate Rentcharge and refers to it a lot, but seems to be much more concerned with requesting it become more transparent to those who have to pay it than in protesting about its existence. In fact, one of the committee members of the SHRA is an Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) councillor for Sovereign Ward who is also a director and trustee of both the privately owned Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT) and its subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company Ltd which together levy and collect the Annual Estate Rentcharge. Also noteworthy is that instead of really being a community interest company to dispense largesse and goodwill,  its sole purpose is to demand the Annual Estate Rentcharge from Sovereign Harbour residents only. Another factor is that several former chairpersons of the SHRA went on to become directors and trustees of the SHT and its "CIC" subsidiary. 

And because the Annual Estate Rentcharge is not specified as it should be by estate agents and the SHRA has not require them to do so to be totally and completely upfront to consumers in general and prospective new residents in particular, mortgage companies are both deceived and misled by those estate agents, the SHRA, also the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council. Both latter authorities conspicuously fail to mention it and because of this mortgage companies grant mortgages on these properties when legally they do not have the 100% security of tenure that reputable mortgage companies require. 

The SHRA does not require estate agents and property managers who advertise on its website to state the specifics (shown by the SHRA on its website) about the Annual Estate Rentcharge and its components. 

Unlike other residents associations, the SHRA does not allow members to have online or physical access to monthly meetings, only to Annual General Meetings. It declines to link to websites of some of its members. It has not suggested that instead of the Sovereign Harbour Trust charging the 4,300 or so Sovereign Harbour freeholders and leaseholders £263.66 in 2020 for each residential unit regardless of whether the property is worth £180,000 or £1.3 million, all visitors to Sovereign Harbour, about 4.5 million in 2020 of all visitors to Eastbourne according to the Eastbourne Tourism office, could pay £1 apiece. Numerous other attractions in Eastbourne charge visitors an entrance fee. But presently they pay nothing to arrive, and many leave trash behind that local residents alone, via the Annual Estate Rentcharge, have to pay. It has been argued that because no other Premier Marinas harbour charges an entrance fee this one should not either. But no other harbour in the UK or world charges an Annual Estate Rentcharge for its land-based residents, only this one.

On 16 July 2020 this author sent the email shown below to RentCharges@communities.gov.uk of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. 

"I write to ask if you can kindly confirm what is now being uniformly stated by many corporate legal firms, that covenanted Rentcharges in general and covenanted Annual Estate Rentcharges in particular, will not be deemed eligible for consideration for mortgages when applied for by applicants approaching most reputable mortgage companies. If your ministry handles Rentcharges but not Annual Estate Rentcharges may I please ask if you can direct me to the appropriate office?

I ask because it seems that all estate agents marketing Sovereign Harbour properties in Eastbourne seem to be deliberately not stating an Annual Estate Rentcharge definitely applies throughout this stated area. Or in  few cases they refer to it solely as a Harbour charge. Then they list the mortgage company they recommend. Yet there is a very specific covenanted Annual Estate Rentcharge, with key components, shown in http://www.sovereignharbourtrust.co.uk/estate_rent_charge.asp.

Nor is this charge mentioned at all, except in some cases as a Harbour charge, to those who, to get a good financial overview of the properties they might wish to buy, first consult local offices of the RICS. This is not a Harbour charge in any way similar to those of other harbours. A prominent and much- respected international newspaper describes it thus: "in no other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world is this hugely expensive Annual Estate Rentcharge similarly payable. Part of it is for Environment Agency-provided flood defence. A much wider flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting more than 15,500 homes from Eastbourne to Bexhill on Sea, 8 miles east. But the Sovereign Harbour Trust and Premier Marinas, both owned by The Wellcome Trust, make only landowning or leasing Sovereign Harbour residents and their successors pay it, not neighboring communities equally affected, or businesses including managing agents and property developers of all Sovereign Harbour properties. Thus, Sovereign Harbour is the only place in the UK, Britain and the world with both such a unique and unfair combined resident-subsidised-alone residents charge, mostly from an Environment Agency-levied surcharge."

A reply was received that same day and said:

"Good afternoon. Thank you for your email. Our department assists freehold homeowners to apply to redeem their income supporting Rentcharges (Rentcharges created before August 1977). We unfortunately can not offer any assistance with Estate Rentcharges. Estate Rentcharges cover the maintenance of communal areas and facilities on private or mixed tenure estates and a requirement to pay these may be specified in the deeds of the property. The Government intends to legislate to ensure that freehold homeowners who pay estate rentcharges have the right to challenge their reasonableness and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary. In addition, it may be useful to know that the Secretary of State wrote to the Competition and Markets Authority on 24 October 2019 to ask them to launch an investigation into potential mis-selling of freehold properties. He has requested that this work is taken forward as soon as the Competition and Markets Authority’s work on leasehold is complete. In the meantime you could try seeking some free initial advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Kind Regards. Rentcharges Team, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Ground Floor, Rosebrae Court, Woodside Ferry Approach, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 6DU. Email: rentcharges@communities.gov.uk. Website: www.gov.uk/rentcharges."

It appears from this that only the minority of Sovereign Harbour residents who are freeholders may, on application, be assisted to challenge the reasonableness of the Annual Estate Rentcharge and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary. However, the Secretary of State has contacted the Competition & Markets Authority and asked them to launch an investigation into potential mis-selling of freehold properties, presumably also in Sovereign Harbour....

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Sovereign Harbour Retail Village

Also known as The Crumbles.  Shops and Services. Owned by M&G Real Estate 

Sovereign Harbour Retail Park

Shopping shopping 2

An 8 screen Cineworld cinema was here until July 2016. Premises are currently vacant. Residents were deprived of the cinema when it moved to Eastbourne at the insistence of the Eastbourne Borough Council's (EBC) and East Sussex County Council, when they invested hugely in the redevelopment of the retail mall in downtown Eastbourne that has become since March 2020 and the Covid 19.pandemic, to be a major financial disaster to the councils because all retail units and the new Cineworld cinema installed in it after July 2016 have been shut until late June 2020.  Residents want another cinema or entertainment facility on the old cinema site, but the EBC and ESCC do not want competition for the relocated town cinema. When M&G, the retail park owners, applied to change the use of the cinema building to retail use, the EBC imposed onerous planning restrictions, of the type neither EBC  nor ESCC require elsewhere, on this retail centre. The conditions include the prohibition of selling fashion, footwear, sportswear, toys and food in order to protect the vitality and viability of the town centre ffrom significant harm.  Until these restrictions are lifted, it will be difficult to find any tenant.  M&G have obtained planning permission for a refurbishment of the retail park, but this has been delayed because of COVID 19.

It has to be asked if M&G, owners of the Sovereign Village/Crumbles Retail area, has thought of contacting or already contacted any/all the independent cinema companies referred to in https://www.screendaily.com/features/why-independent-cinemas-are-booming-in-the-uk/5130085.article. It seems several have been looking for new locations. Or has M&G tried to contact them but wants too much rent and/or possibly been told the EBC and or ESCC, which collectively acted or persuaded Cineworld to move from Sovereign Harbour to town, would object to having another cinema where Cineworld was. Some Sovereign Harbour residents have apparently suggested the cinema be torn down and replaced by an open air facility for use by adults and children. But many other residents, in both Sovereign Harbour and beyond, are horrified. They hate the thought of that locale being demolished.. They hope for another cinema. 

EBC is wrong to think that people from the wide area of Sovereign Harbour and Pevensey, Bexhill, etc will be prepared, after the cinema that was here and free parking was right outside, was pressured to leave for the Eastbourne town centre and no free parking will go there instead, with the annoying traffic problems getting there and back as well. They will not, they will stay at home and watch films on TV. Many people who live in Sovereign Harbour have no desire to go into Eastbourne by car only two miles away in distance but often, especially in the summer months, having to encounter heavy traffic, annoyingly long waits at roundabouts and then, when you finally get into town, finding it difficult or impossible or grossly expensive to park. It is part of the aggravation of going into Eastbourne. What has made it worse is the fact that Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council authorities have narrowed highways, widened some pavements, deleted disabled parking spaces to create cycle lanes and created other impediments to motorists that just make the town annoying, a place to be avoided now instead of a decent shopping centre. Here, at Sovereign Harbour Village, there are decent shops, space for a cinema and free parking, 

If another cinema has been thoroughly explored by  and is not possible might a better alternative be to ask if any talented or artistic or community minded Sovereign Harbour folks - and other residents from a wider geographic area, say from Bexhill or Pevensey and beyond, who already go to ASDA, Boots, Next, Wilco, etc - are interested, at least in principle,  in using the building to set up a collective of small shops, for woodworking, jewels, arts, crafts, etc. Indoor, for year round use, not outdoor for only good weather use, should surely be more desired for that building.

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Sovereign Harbour Trust and its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) Community Interest Company (CIC)

They levy the Annual Estate Rentcharge shown separately above by name.

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Sovereign Harbour Waterfront Complex

Restaurants:

 Harbour GrillHarvester

Frankie & Benny's were here until March 2020. Premises are currently vacant.  Local residents really liked it. It seemed to be constantly well-patronized before the Covid-19 lockdown. 

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Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club

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Trains and Stations

train

Southern Railway. Stations are Eastbourne; Hampden Park (about. 3 miles away); Polegate (Approx. 5 miles away); Pevensey & Westham (approx. 3 miles away; and) Pevensey Bay (approx. 3 miles away). Beyond Pevensey Bay are more stations going east to Bexhill and Hastings. 

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White Point

BN23 5BP. Off Martinique Way. Part of Site 1 in original listing of Sovereign Harbour sites. Sits adjacent to the seaward west end Harbour entrance, and adjacent to the junction between Prince William Parade, Atlantic Drive and Martinique Way. A contemporary new development right on the beach at the west end Sovereign Harbour South. The development comprises 10 four bedroom houses with panoramic sea views.1 hectares owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. Dominated by Martello Tower 66, close to the beach and the seaward entrance to the harbour. Initially, the site was earmarked for an hotel, with plenty of parking. Later, this was withdrawn, much to the disappointment of Sovereign Harbour residents who object to having to go not close by but all the way into town in usually heavy traffic to find a hotel with limited or no parking. Instead, site was identified as ideal for a sea front leisure area and the seaward two thirds of the site were allocated for this purpose. In order to fund this, it was agreed that further residential dwellings could be built, ten houses and 62 apartments, in two blocks.

5 White Point buildings, each with two homes

Each residential unit is subject to Annual Estate Rentcharges

One condition of the consent was that an uninterrupted view of the Martello Tower had to be maintained.  Another was that access to the beach must be maintained for Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd, contractors of which removing shingle built up behind the harbour arm and transporting it to the North Harbour beach. Construction started in 2017 with the houses being built first and completed 2019.  Work on the proposed two blocks of flats has not yet begun. 

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Walking for Health

By Age Concern.

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Working from home, many Sovereign Harbour leases unfairly prohibit this

Presently some Sovereign Harbour apartment buildings where residents are leasehold not freehold state specifically in their leases they do not allow professionals to work from home.  But this does not apply in Sovereign Harbour freehold homes.  Leases must be made more consumer-friendly in this day and age. Not to allow all residents to work from home is petty and anti government policy, especially when both the central  government and local councils have required most to work from home during the 2020 Covid 19 crisis which is still ongoing.

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This author also, on a daily basis, writes, edits, manages, publishes and web-masters the following

165-plus webfiles of Bermuda Online

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Keith A. Forbes at editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk
© 2020. Revised: September 20, 2020