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Only on this website, not on any estate agent or council or community websites, is it revealed that purchasers/leaseholders of residential Sovereign Harbour property must pay a unique annual and increasingly expensive flood defence and harbour charge averaging £290 a year in 2019 (£265 a year in 2018) in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents. In no other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world does this apply. A much wider flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting  more than 17,000 homes, yet the Sovereign Harbour Trust, owned by The Wellcome Trust makes only 3,104 Sovereign Harbour residents and their successors pay it, to the Environment Agency, not businesses including managing agents and property developers. As Members of Parliament and Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County councillors have refused to help right this wrong applicable uniquely and solely to Sovereign Harbour residents, the matter has now been referred to overseas agencies . A second unique covenant  requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South Harbour properties in the water feature precinct to pay a further annual charge of £328 in 2018. It is the only such water feature in the world that applies such a charge to properties overlooking it.

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Sovereign Harbour

Beaches Council Tax Wrongs Eastbourne Disability Association


Estate Rent Charge

Forbes Clan Forbes Clan 2 Integrated Council/NHS General John Forbes

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Pensioners Concerns Property Guidelines Sovereign Ward  

Eastbourne, East Sussex, England

The town that makes only its Sovereign Harbour residents pay an expensive Annual Estate Rentcharge found nowhere else

By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes. Both disabled, they live in Eastbourne and write, administer and webmaster this website. Keith is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled.

Eastbourne pinpointed

Eastbourne basics

Eastbourne landmarks

Eastbourne, East Sussex. Latitude and longitude 50.768 and 0.2905. Postcodes BN20 to BN23. Only 1.6 hours from central London by rail.  Not a city, instead a large coastal town, pebble (not fine sand) beach seaside resort and borough in the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex on the south coast of England, 19 miles (31 km) east of Brighton. Eastbourne is immediately to the east of Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Great Britain. It has a seafront consisting largely of largely internally and internally modernized Victorian hotels, a distinctive pier recently renovated by a community-minded private investor, a Napoleonic era fort and military museum and three distinctive, historic but local-authority neglected Martello towers constructed by the British Army when invasion seemed possible by Napoleonic forces. Although  Eastbourne is a relatively new town, there is evidence of human occupation in the area from the Stone Age. The town grew as a fashionable tourist resort largely thanks to prominent landowner, William Cavendish, later to become the Duke of Devonshire. His ancestors included one who founded Devonshire Parish in the islands of Bermuda (website by this author). That district has as its heraldic crest that of the Cavendish concerned. Eastbourne was developed by Cavendish from 1859 from four separate hamlets. He appointed architect Henry Currey to design a street plan for the town after sending him to Europe to draw inspiration.

Eastbourne by air


Beachfront is not sand but flint pebbles. There are local ordnances specifying that from May 1 to September1 dogs cannot go on beaches and all dogs must be on leashes and dog owners must scoop up all messes laid by their dogs. Visitors and newcomers should read Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) notices re dogs. 

Beachy Head

Bespoke Cycling Gro

Bourne Chorus 

Classical Singers

Coaster Brighton to Eastbourne buses

See http://www.buses.co.uk/page.shtml?pageid=1345. 

Eastbourne Air Show

Every late August. Voted UK's best free air show, see fast jets, aerobatics, military displays, pleasure flights, fireworks and the Airborne Live stage all return in August. Regular favorites include the Red Arrows, Chinook, Typhoon and more.

Eastbourne Angling

Eastbourne Archers 

Eastbourne Art Circle

Eastbourne Astronomical Society

Eastbourne Auctions

Eastbourne Bandstand

Eastbourne Bonfire Society Procession and Fireworks

Eastbourne Bowling

Eastbourne Carpet and Seafront Gardens

Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce

Eastbourne Choral Society

Eastbourne Churches/Places of Worship


Eastbourne Citizens Advice

See http://www.eastbournecab.co.uk/ 

Eastbourne Crematorium

Estate Agents & Properties for Sale or Rent

They include:

Buying or renting or leasing a domestic property by newcomers. Important points to note:

For the property or properties you will be seeing have the estate agents provided full marketing and other relevant information on that property? The best estate agents will give full essential basic information for each property. It should include current council taxes, what they cover and which local authorities are involved; name of managing agent and current annual charges for the unit; is there a leaseholders association for that property and if so how to contact it to become a member; present harbour estate or water charge cost (see immediately below); water feature charge if applicable on top of other water charges; which company provides the electricity for that property; which company provides the water and waste water.

Estate agents selling long-lease flats or terraced homes should also note in their particulars of each non-freehold property that not just one but several separate organizations purchasers of those leasehold properties should know about. They all have different roles. There may a Residents Association at where you plan to live. The second is the leaseholders association of that building.  All leaseholders of a particular building should become members, usually for a small annual cost. Why? For three reasons. Members provide a common defence against matters such possible attempts by managing agents or building owners to raise fees for new maintenance or related works. When a leasehold association has 60 percent or more of its occupants as members in good standing it has a legal right to challenge arbitrary decisions. If that 60/% is not realized because not enough occupants are current members, managing agents and/or the building's owners (who usually appoint the managing agents) are legally entitled to proceed without such blockage or interference. Only when a leasehold association reaches 60% of its leasehold-holding owner-occupants does it have the power to demand a change of managing agents. This has happened especially when either management charges and additional maintenance expenses have been deemed excessive - unrealistically high by the majority of members of the leaseholders association, or when the managing agents and/or owners of buildings have been continuously uncommunicative, or both. The third is the managing agent of that building. Managing agents are appointed to collect annual or semi-annual demands for management fees payable by leaseholders and to maintain all lifts and common external areas of the building including the exteriors of garages and parking spaces. But they do not get involved in non-common areas. Leaseholders should also know that if their buildings have lifts installed their management fees will be higher than buildings without lifts, but leaseholders without their own garages will pay the same management fee, not less, than leaseholders with garages, even when those without garages have paid more for their properties than those with garages. Some managing agents are more responsive than others in answering questions or handling complaints. The fourth is the owner of that building. When occupiers seek, on an individual (non-common) basis, information about their flat, or make any complaint, or have or create any damage or make any structural internal changes to their flats, such as creating or changing rooms or walls or partitions or bathrooms or showers they should probably copy managing agents into but should make sure their submissions are addressed to the owners of the buildings concerned. 

If sea or countryside views are important Council taxes will often be significantly higher than properties with an appreciably higher market value but paying less in council taxes.

Council Taxes. Some flats in the Eastbourne area in buildings with garages or a shared one, therefore with more space, but their owners pay the the same council taxes, not more, than flats without garages even when residents of the latter have paid a higher price for their flat than those with garages. The Councils concerned deem this irrelevant. In most cases, all residents of one building pay the same council taxes irrespective of whether some units have either more rooms or a garage or share one in lieu. In view of this it is recommended that if more than one unit in a building is for sale, with one offering a garage or a shared one and the other does not, go for the one with a garage.

Are shops, medical services and buses or trains conveniently close?

Cladding on a high-rise building. If considering buying or leasing a flat in a high-rise building that has had cladding installed, it is particularly important to determine to your complete satisfaction that the cladding is of good quality, has passed all required tests, is fire-resistant, not a potential fire-risk.

Flooring, noise and porch or balcony privacy. Some Eastbourne flats have wooden, not concrete, floors. Those with wooden floors mean that neighbours below can expect more noise. Some flats also have their porches or balconies adjacent to porches or balconies at other flats. This means less privacy and more noise when both flats have people on their porches or balconies at the same time. And in the summer, when you need more air but stay inside, you will want your windows or doors open. But if people on the adjacent balcony or porch in the neighbor's flat are making a noise, you may have to close your window or door. 

Renters will be required to pay, in addition to their monthly rent, an upfront deposit amounting to up to two months rent, get estate-agency approved contents insurance and more. If from abroad, or with insufficient monthly income for a monthly rent but with provable sufficient savings, there is a way out. Renters can elect to pay in advance for the first six months of their rental tenancy. Most rental agreements appear to be for an initial six month period.  

Some buildings with flats may have just one electricity supplier, picked by the building's owner, not owner of the flat. It may not always be possible to select or change  an electricity supplier.

Is the property centrally heated?  Many flats are not, are instead individually room-heated by radiators. If some have both gas and electricity this should be stated.

For a family with more than one car is there assigned parking for more than one vehicle? 

If there is assigned parking, is the parking covered or in the open on or underneath and conveniently near to the property? Potential buyers or renters or lessees need to look at the parking beforehand to see if the parking space is big enough for their vehicle and if it can be accessed without difficulty.

Are certain types of vehicles such as vans or trucks not permitted  to park on the property?

Is there a garage or outbuilding on the property in which to store, under cover, a cycle or mobility scooter? 

If you or a member of your family are disabled and have a Blue Badge, is there assigned disabled parking there, wider than normal parking? 

If a member of your household is severely disabled is there a separate bedroom and a bathroom available that might qualify for a council tax one-band disability reduction? 

If a member of your household is mobility-impaired and cannot climb stairs safely, is there a lift in the flat's building?

Are there sufficient cupboard or closet or other storage spaces or built-in wardrobes in bedrooms? This will be particularly important for some newcomers. Many Sovereign Harbour flats have two bedrooms but few have adequate cupboard or wardrobe space for two people, often barely enough in those two bedrooms for one person. Some have no built-in cupboard spaces at all. Many flats appear to have been constructed primarily for part-time or holiday, not full-time year-round, use.

After agreeing in principle to buy but before legally committing to long-lease or purchase the property it is particularly recommended you use a local chartered surveyor to give you (a) a written report on the condition of the property; (b) an unbiased present valuation of the property; and (c)  an indication of any planning that might be in progress or applied for that might affect your views. It will cost you £450 or more to have this survey report made but it will be money well spent. If the chartered surveyor's valuation of that property is noticeably less than the estate agent's and seller's price for that property, you have the right to demand a lower price to match what the surveyor suggests, or cancel your interest. It could be well worth it to you to cancel as there is now somewhat of a glut in available flats. 

When you have decided to buy (or sell) a Sovereign Harbour property, it is particularly suggested you use an Eastbourne-based solicitor. If you instead use one from other parts of the UK where this area is largely unknown you might get hit with certain charges, for example a chancel repair liability or search or payment, that do not not apply here, and/or incur other delays in completing the transaction. Many newcomers not from this area have had this problem and should not pay for any such chancel charges. A local solicitor will or should know immediately there is no chancel repair cost or charge or liability or need for chancel liability insurance in the Sovereign Harbour area which did not exist when chancel costs applied elsewhere.


Fishermen's Club

See http://www.fishermensclub.co.uk/. Sports and social club for members.

Golf Clubs

Hospitality Association

Works with Eastbourne tourism officials to set tourism development policy and Tourist Accommodation areas - in the town but not in Sovereign Harbour. A closed shop of accommodation owners. Most places abroad have long abandoned the policy of letting accommodation providers alone determine what their Tourism Accommodation boundaries should be. In Eastbourne, they are confined to the town or nearby on its western side. There are none at all in Sovereign Harbour, now one of Eastbourne's major tourism and visitor attractions


Provided by the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Hospitals are Eastbourne District General Hospital at http://www.esht.nhs.uk/hospitals/eastbournedgh/ , King's Drive, Eastbourne BN21 2UD. Phone 01323 417400 and Conquest Hospital, St. Leonard's, Hastings,see http://www.esht.nhs.uk/hospitals/conquest/. For car parking at Eastbourne District General Hospital see http://www.myhospitalmap.org.uk/Eastbourne/CarParkingatEastbourneDistrictGeneralHospital.aspx   

Eastbourne DistrictHospital

Eastbourne District General Hospital

Ladies with Hats

Local History Society

Martello Towers 64 and 66

Martello Tower 64 on Sovereign North Harbour beach

Martello Tower 64. Photo cc Keith and Lois Forbes

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 is a historic monument and includes both a Martello tower and a World War II gun emplacement on top of it, situated on a shingle beach to the north east of Eastbourne, at Sovereign Harbour North, mid-way between Langney Point and Pevensey Bay. The tower, which is Listed Grade II, lies around 1km north east of its surviving neighbor, tower no 66.  There is no longer a Martello Tower 64, it was washed out to sea. 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. The towers take the form of compact, free-standing circular buildings on three levels built of rendered brick. The towers of the south coast 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. All three survive. 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.

Media and Newspapers

Museums and Redoubt

Model Power Boat Club

Model Yacht Club

Neighbourhood Watch Association

Photographic Society 



Primary and secondary schools are in the town and region. School buses serve many local residential areas.

Shopping malls

Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra

Eastbourne Sovereign Centre

Not part of Sovereign Harbour but near it. A new one is shortly to be built adjacent to the present one, and will eventually replace the latter.

Eastbourne Supermarkets

Shopping shopping 2 shopping 3

Eastbourne Trains and Stations

Operator, Southern Railway, see http://www.southernrailway.com/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/advance/

Hampden Park (Sussex) (Approx. 3 miles away)
Polegate (Approx. 5 miles away)
Pevensey & Westham (Approx. 5 miles away)
Pevensey Bay (Approx. 5 miles away)

HMS Holland 5

A world War 1 submarine that sank five or so miles from Beachy Head, Eastbourne

Pevensey Bay Sailing Club

Pevensey Coastal Defence

Pevensey Timeline

Sovereign Harbour and marinas, facilities and shops

Sovereign Sailing Club

Sussex Historic Churches Trust

Sussex Police

Sussex Song Makers


Tennis, Aegon Iinternational


Congress Theatre

Congress Theatre

Several, including Congress Theatre, a Grade II listed, purpose built, modern theatre and conference venue with a seating capacity of 1,689. Designed by Bryan and Norman Westwood Architects, the theatre was built in 1963 and houses touring West End theatre, ballet, comedy, live music and opera. Also the Royal Hippodrome, and Underground Theatre.

Towner Art Gallery

University of Brighton, Eastbourne

University of the 3rd Age, Eastbourne

Walking for Wellness

Eastbourne Age Concern.

Willingdon and Jevington

Keith also writes

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Written, administered and web-mastered by

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Keith A. Forbes and Lois A Forbes at editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk  
© 2019. Revised: February 14, 2019