Sovereign Harbour Gazette banner

Sovereign Harbour Estate Rentcharge Council Tax Wrongs Disability Association EBC Councillors E-mails
Forbes Clan General John Forbes Pensioners Concerns Property Guidelines Two Eastbourne's July 4 music

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 is not for the elderly seeking to downsize

Moving here will mean paying expensive Annual Estate Rentcharges found nowhere else world-wide

By Keith A. Forbes at editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk. He and his wife live in Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne. A disabled journalist, he is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled. 

Pensioners concerns

The stark details at the top of this page say why pensioners who wish to relocate to Sovereign Harbour will not be downsizing in costs but upsizing significantly in expenses. They will not be paying council taxes at a lower rate than for apartments of flats once they leave their larger-sized detached or semi-detached homes. Instead,  they will incur, higher council taxes than the rest of Eastbourne or elsewhere in the UK, plus £263.55 per year in Annual Estate Rentcharge per residential unit in 2020 plus, if they live in that part of Sovereign Harbour South that has the water feature, a further £310 or more per year. Other problems pensioners who live in Sovereign Harbour have include:

Council Tax increases/injustices

newspapersFor more details see our Council Tax Wrongs. Council Taxes, for the sixth year running, have increased by an average of 4 percent, to the huge disgust of consumers. 

Council taxes, say leading newspapers, are Britain's most hated taxes for their nation-wide unfairness. As one example, the Daily Telegraph published a comprehensive report in June 2016.

The UK's present system of council taxes is manifestly unjust. Today, disabled seniors living in small leased 2 bedroom leasehold flats in Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne and elsewhere, worth less than £260,000 but at Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council Tax Band E pay much more - nearly double - in Council Tax than owners of freehold, multi-bedroom, million-pound properties in Band H in central London. 

It is outrageous that the £220 million private house in Knightsbridge, London, recently acquired by a Chinese Hong Kong-based firm and the even larger 775-room Buckingham Palace in London, worth about £980 million with its outbuildings and massive gardens - and other multi-million pound properties in the most affluent areas of London, pay hugely less in Council Tax. Massive inequities since 1991 have been ignored by British Members of Parliament of all political parties. In 27 years they have not acted to change the system with its unfair practices. Other countries are required by law to re-assess their property taxes every 3-5 years. 

There should not be a Mansion tax with only one additional Council Tax band. The present Council Tax banding system of A-H should run from A to Z.

There has to be a council (property) tax on every property. But it has to be balanced, fair, equitable, logical and consistent. It began and was intended to remain as a reliable indicator of not what views it had or any other irrelevance but simply the fair market value of a property whether a house or flat or cottage or bungalow. It should have included but did not, the land on which it sits and any outbuildings or garages there are. 

The present system is horribly discriminatory to owners of bungalows compared to two-storey houses and people who rent or lease flats and have no land or outbuildings at all. Instead of it being a property tax for the entire property big or small it became an occupancy tax of two occupants. 

What we should have is an actual or accurately assessed market price, with a legislative methodology to ensure the entire valuation system is reviewed regularly at least every five years as other countries require. The process should ensure that every property bought and or sold routinely shows both its market price and its council or property tax on property particulars. 

This will avoid any accusation of discrimination, with the valuation of every property open for public inspection to achieve complete transparency. It should not be just a single isolated local authority tax but one mindful of and comparable with council taxes in other areas. 

It should have enough council tax banding width to easily ensure that unless a property is equal in total value to Buckingham Palace it should be council taxed at merely a fraction of the latter's council tax. And if/when market prices fall instead of going up, the property tax should also fall. No such fair, decent, consistent, regularly updated methodology applies to Council Taxes in Eastbourne. 

Examples. (a) January 2019 a spacious penthouse 3 bedroom apartment in the affluent area of Silverdale Road, Lower Meads, Eastbourne, was advertised for sale at £385,000 showing Council Tax D but a 2 bedroom upper ground floor apartment on San Diego Way, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne, worth much less, £260,000, pays a higher tax, in Council Tax Band E.

In the December 2019 UK-wide General Election, not a single political party put Council Tax reform on its manifesto.

spacer 2

Covid-19 puts older adults at higher risk

Medical authorities in both the UK and overseas have identified older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease at higher risk for more serious COVID-19. Data suggests older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19.

This is likely because as people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their body to fight off diseases and infection, and because many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from. Age increases the risk that the respiratory system or lungs will shut down when an older person has COVID-19 disease.

It is has emphasized that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. People at higher risk take the following actions:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

People with serious chronic conditions, especially the elderly, should think twice about traveling or going to crowded places. They need to take the simple steps of not putting themselves in a situation—whatever that might be—that might increase the risk given their own circumstances. 

They need to: 

  • Stay calm and share facts, nor fear
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day.

 Many older adults depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.  Family members, neighbors, and caregivers may need to:

  • Know what medications heir loved one is taking and see if they can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in the home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If a younger family member cares for a loved one living in a nursing or retirement home, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
  • Help with disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus. Authorities have identified several of them and offer tips to protect the vulnerable. These include watching for emails claiming to be from the NHS or councils saying they have information about the virus and offer bogus online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges, or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19 online or in stores.

Other scammers are sending out emails asking pensioners and their families or dependents to donate to a nonprofit fighting the coronavirus and more. They need to be researched for their authenticity.  

Local organizations serving older adults, including senior centers, should contact their local health department, which can provide the latest specific guidance on how to respond in the area. Senior centers and other local organizations also can play an important role in sharing trusted information with older adults. 

Nursing and retirement homes have announced they are taking extensive measures to prevent COVID–19 infection of residents and staff, including to: 

  • Restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel except in end-of-life circumstances. 
  • Screen residents and staff for signs of infection. 
  • Cancel group activities such as communal dining. 
  • Offer alternatives for residents who wish to socialize but still stay isolated. 
  • Advise anyone who enters the facility to monitor themselves for signs of COVID-19 infection for 14 days after contact.
  • Communicate all updates and announcement through multiple channels.

It’s also important to remember that we will soon be in the seasonal flu season, which impacts older adults every year. It is estimated that 70-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people aged 65+.

While there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, it’s never too late for individuals to get their annual flu shot. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how you can protect yourself and those around you. 

With COVID-19 and all health issues, when in doubt, the best course forward is always to consult with your GP.

spacer 2

Disability laws in UK v. Europe, Canada, USA, etc.

Disability seating

UK disability laws need updating and improving to match disability laws elsewhere. Eastbourne and Brighton both in East Sussex are the two most disabled-unfriendly places in the UK. 

Disabled visiting Americans, Australians, Canadians, Europeans, etc shocked by our poor disabled laws and regulations compared to where they live

Yet local disability groups are not demanding legislative changes. There is no comparison with the USA's powerful and effective Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) - see http://www.ada.gov or similar in Europe, Canada and beyond. (In Canada see http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/socialpolicy/fda/1006). 

The lack of UK legislative teeth and the unwillingness of the police to act as law enforcement officers in Eastbourne to act on disability abuses has caused many to complain internationally. We hear about these because our Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association at www.sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk/ESHDisability.htm networks with overseas groups, and several of our members once lived and worked overseas where disability standards are both so much higher and legally enforced. 

All disabled visitors to the Eastbourne area from Europe, USA, Canada, etc, from where disability provisions are fully protected by law both in the public and private sectors, need to know that similar comprehensive disability laws do not apply here. Non-disabled British visitors to those parts of the world who abuse their disability laws do not get away with it, are fined heavily. 

spacer 2

Exercise Tips for Successful Aging

You can age successfully. The more active, healthy, and fit you are now, the better you will feel as you age. For example, exercise helps you think better and improves your mood. Exercises to explore as you age include

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Resistance training
  • Strength training
  • Flexibility and balance exercises

spacer 2

Health Concerns of Pensioners

As people get older, physiological changes occur in their body as a natural part of aging. 

A wide range of changes can happen in the body to different degrees as we age. These changes are not necessarily indicative of an underlying disease but they can be distressing to the individual. Even though the aging process cannot be stopped, being aware of these changes and adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce their impact on overall health. Expected bodily changes of aging are many, as shown below. Physical changes due to aging can occur in almost every organ and can affect seniors' health and lifestyle. 

Some diseases and conditions become more prominent in the elderly. 

Psychosocial issues can also play a role in physical and mental health of older adults. 

A balanced diet and regular exercise are strongly linked to better health outcomes in seniors. 

A series of routine screening tests and preventive measures are recommended for the elderly.

Important preventive measures at home can improve the safety and health of seniors.

Geriatrics is a medical subspecialty dedicated to the care of the elderly. Physicians who have specialized training in this field are known as geriatricians.

Family history, age and lifestyle play a large role in risk assessment for certain medical conditions. Many health concerns for seniors can be prevented or the progression slowed by making smart, healthy choices and visiting their GP for regular screening.

Some of the most common health problems in the elderly include:

Balance issues. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, and maintaining your balance and mobility is key in fall prevention.

Body shape: As a result of bony changes of aging, body stature can become shorter and curvature of the back vertebrae may be altered. Increased muscle loss and reduced fat metabolism can also occur. Fat can redistribute to the abdominal area and buttock areas. Maintaining an ideal body weight becomes more difficult.

Bones, joints, and muscles: Bones typically lose density and shrink in size making them more susceptible to fractures. Muscles shrink in mass and become weaker. Joints can suffer from normal wear and tear; joints become inflamed, painful, and less flexible.

Bowel and bladder: Bowel and bladder control can cause problems with incontinence (involuntary loss of feces or urine). Additionally, bowel and bladder habit can change. Constipation is common in older adults, as are urinary frequency and difficulty initiating urine.

Cancer. The risk for some types of cancerincreases as you age. For example, women become more at risk for cervical or endometrial cancers, while men have a higher risk for prostate cancer. While preventing cancer altogether may not be possible, screenings to detect certain cancers in the early stages can help effectively treat them.

Cognitive decline. While some memory loss is common as you age, developing Alzheimer’s disease is not. It’s important to recognize the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, as early intervention and treatment can be key in slowing the progression of the disease.

Diabetes. It’s estimated that 25 percent of adults age 65 and older have type 2 diabetes. The sooner you know you are at risk or have diabetes, the sooner you can begin managing your blood sugar and making lifestyle changes that can better control it.

Face: Aging changes also take place in the face. Other than wrinkles and age spots, the overall facial contour can change. Overall loss of volume from facial bone and fat can result in less tightness of the facial skin and sagging. The face becomes droopier and bottom heavy.

Hair and nails: Hair can become thinner and weaker as a person ages. Dry hair may lead to itching and discomfort. Nails may become brittle and unshapely. Nails can also get dry and form vertical ridges. Toe nail thickening (ram's horn shape) is common. Nail fungal infections may occur frequently.

Hearing: changes in nerves of hearing and ear structures can dim hearing and cause age-related hearing loss. Higher frequencies become harder to hear. 43 percent of people who experience hearing loss are 65 or older.

Heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults over the age of 65. Conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol need to be managed properly and taking good care of your heart are vital to avoid developing heart disease in your later years.

Hormones and endocrine glands: Hormonal changes are seen commonly in the elderly. Most common is the hormonal control of blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism leading to diabetes. Thyroid dysfunction and problems with fat and cholesterol metabolism are also commonly encountered. Calcium and vitamin D metabolism may also become altered. Sexual hormones reach a low level and can lead to erectile disfunction and vaginal dryness. 

Immunity: The body's immune system can get weaker with age. Blood cells that fight infections (white blood cells) become less effective leading to more frequent infections.

Influenza or pneumonia. Infections like the flu or pneumonia aren’t specifically senior illnesses, however, seniors are more vulnerable to them and due to weakened immune systems, may be less likely to successfully recover from them.

Memory: Problems with memory are common in seniors. However, it is important to realize that minor memory problems do not necessarily constitute dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Simple lapses of memory such as not remembering where you left a key or whether you locked the door are a normal part of aging.

Mobility and balance: A person's mobility and balance can be affected by various age related changes. Bone, joint, and muscle problems listed above in conjunction with changes in nervous system are the major contributors to balance problems. Falls may occur resulting in further damage with bruises and fractures.

Oral health problems. Not all seniors lose their teeth, but issues like gingivitis that leads to periodontitis, a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth, can be common in older adults. Proper oral care and seeing the dentist for a cleaning every six months can help ensure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible.

Osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. Millions of older adults have low bone mass or osteoporosis, and almost all adults over age 80 have some form of osteoarthritis. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can help protect your bones and joints.

Respiratory diseases. Conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can worsen the older you become. However, there are variety of medications available that allow you to breathe easier.

Sleep patterns can significantly change with age. Duration of sleep, quality of sleep, and frequent night time awakening are commonly seen in seniors.

Skin: With aging, skin becomes less flexible, thinner, and more fragile. Easy bruising is noticeable, and wrinkles, age spots, and skin tags may become more apparent. Skin can also become more dry and itchy as a result of less natural skin oil production.

Taste and smell: Sense of smell and, less commonly, sense of taste may fade leading to poor appetite and weight loss.

Teeth and gums: Teeth can become more weak, brittle, and dry. Salivary glands produce less saliva. Gums can also recede (pull back) from the teeth. These changes may result in dry mouth, tooth decay, infections, bad breath, tooth loss and gum disease.

Vision: Eyes can become drier and the lens can lose its accuracy as we age. Vision can be affected by these changes and can become blurry and out of focus. Glasses or contact lenses can help correct these problems and avoid or delay vision loss.  Maintaining regular screenings for your vision is vital as you age. Age-related eye issues like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma affect millions of older adults.  

spacer 2

BBC, Government's new TV Licence Fee authority, refuses free TV to over-75s

From 1 August 2020, or the first time in over 20 years, pensioners over 75 years old will be forced to pay £157.50 to watch TV and use their computers, mobile phones (cell phones in USA) smartphones. The BBC has refused to fund the concession any longer, claims it is too poor (but look below at the salaries it pays its staff!)  to pay for the scheme. Instead of slashing presenters' pay packets and stripping out layers of management, some of the most vulnerable and isolated people will be chased for payment.

All viewers aged 75 and over who had qualified for a free licence will have to pay, unless they are on Pension Credit. Around 900,000 over-75 people had been entitled to free TV, yet it is estimated 1.5 million more could be eligible but do not claim. In total, 3.75 million new people will have to pay the fee. Exceptions to payment of this TV Licence which also includes using a computer or smartphone are - guess who - Members of Parliament and local authority county or district councillors who, if they are liable at all, can write the cost off as part of their business expenses but others who are not part of that group cannot. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said the BBC had made the "wrong decision", and the government believes the licence fees in question "should be funded by the BBC". Yet Government via Members of Parliament collectively voted in Parliament to pass the responsibility of collecting the TV licence from Government to the BBC. This makes the BBC not only the sole beneficiary of the TV License - no other TV entity, of which there are many here in the UK - but also the sole regulatory authority, with a total monopoly of the TV Licence. 

Culture minister Matt Warman said the move was "deeply frustrating". Tory MP Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, warned: "It is astonishing the BBC would rather tax low-income pensioners. This is despite promising the contrary. Yet they spend millions on internal training, white elephants and senior management's extraordinary salaries. The BBC should be a broadcaster for the many and not the few."

Labour's shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said: "The refusal of the government to fund this vital service after promising to do so is nothing short of betrayal. Many over-75s have spent months at home with TV providing an invaluable source of company during the pandemic. For the government to blame the BBC who are having to contend with huge cuts is simply passing the buck."

Julian Knight MP, Conservative chairman of the House of Commons culture select committee, called the situation "a mess" and said the new regime would be "a body blow to millions of British pensioners".

The questions now have to be these. If prominent Members of Parliament  voted against it, why was it approved in Parliament? Or is it that those Members of Parliament mentioned above, who don't pay or can claim the TV Licence as their ultra-privileged deductible, are just trying to avoid being blamed? 

Look below at the astonishing salaries it pays its staff! Not all all their earnings are published - for example, Zoe Ball's earnings for Strictly: It Takes Two are not included, as that is produced by BBC Studios, which is classed as a commercial entity. The salaries of other high profile programmes produced by BBC Studios - such as Top Gear and Doctor Who - are also missing for the same reason.

Biggest earners at the BBC in 2018-19. You have to  wonder why 2-19-2020 figures have not been published.

Gary Lineker - £1,750,000-£1,754,999. Match of the Day, Sports Personality of the Year and World Cup. 2017/18 figure: £1,750,000-£1,759,999

Graham Norton - £610,000-£614,999. BBC Radio 2 Saturday show and BBC TV fee for a range of programmes such as Eurovision - but not including his BBC One chat show. 2017/18: £600,000-£609,999

Huw Edwards - £490,000-£494,999. BBC News and and news specials. The BBC has previously reported he's taken a pay cut. 2017/18: £520,000-£529,999

Steve Wright - £465,000-£469,999. Radio 2 afternoon show. 2017/18: £550,000-£559,999.

Alan Shearer - £440,000-£444,999. Match of the Day and World Cup. 2017/18: £410,000-£419,999

Andrew Marr - £390,000-£394,999. Start the Week, The Andrew Marr Show and documentaries. 2017/18: £400,000-£409,999

Claudia Winkleman - £370,000-£374,999. Radio 2 show and various TV programmes. 2017/18: £370,000-£379,99.

Zoe Ball - £370,000-£374,999. Strictly's It Takes Two isn't included as it's made by BBC Studios. 2017/18: Not on the list presumably because her then Saturday Radio 2 show didn't put her in the £150,000 or above wage bracket.

Jason Mohammad - £355,000-£359,999. Final Score, Radio 5 Live, Radio 2's Good Morning Sunday, Radio Wales, snooker, Commonwealth Games, World Cup 2017/18 figure: £260,000-£269,999

Vanessa Feltz - £355,000-£359,999. Radio 2 show, Radio London show, Radio 2 cover. 2017/18 figure: £330,000-£339,999

Nicky Campbell - £340,000-£345,999. Radio 5 Live breakfast show. 2017/18 figure: £410,000-£419,999

Stephen Nolan - £325,000-£329,999. Nolan Live, Radio Ulster show and Radio 5 Live shows. 2017/18 figure: £400,000-£409,999

George Alagiah - £315,000-£319,999. BBC News. 2017/18 figure: £290,000-£299,999

Nick Grimshaw - £310,000-£314,999. Radio 1 breakfast show and then moved to Radio 1 drivetime. 2017/18 figure: £400,000-£409,999.

Lauren Laverne - £305,000-£309,999. BBC 6 Music, Desert Island Discs. 2017/18 figure: £230,000-£239,000

Gabby Logan - £290,000-£294,999. Various sports including athletics, football, rugby, Commonwealth Games and Sports Personality of the Year. 2017/18 figure: £230,000-£239,999

Nick Robinson - £290,000-£294,999. Radio 4 Today programme, Political Thinking plus Panorama and news specials. 2017/18 figure: £250,000-£259,999

John Humphrys - £290,000-£294,999. Radio 4 Today programme. 2017/18 figure: £400,000-£409,999.

Jeremy Vine - £290,000-£294,999. Radio 2 lunchtime show. 2017/18 figure: £440,000-£449,999

Scott Mills - £285,000-£289,999. The Scott Mills Show on Radio 1, Radio 1 Breakfast Show cover, Biggest Weekend and festival coverage, Eurovision Song Contest. 2017/18 figure: £280,000-£289,999

Dan Walker - £280,000-£284,999. BBC Breakfast, Football Focus and FIFA World Cup. 2017/18 figure: £220,000-£229,999.

Ken Bruce - £280,000-£284,999. Radio 2 mid-morning show, Friday Night is Music Night, Eurovision Song Contest. 2017/18 figure: £300,000-£309,999.

Evan Davis - £275,000-£279,999. Radio 4 PM, Newsnight, The Bottom Line on Radio 4. 2017/18 figure: £250,000-£259,000.

Jo Whiley - £270,000-£274,999. Radio 2 drivetime show and evening show. 2017/18 figure: £170,000-£179,999

Sophie Raworth - £265,000-£269,999. BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten. 2017/18 figure: £200,000-£209,999

Emily Maitlis - £260,000-£264,999. BBC Two's Newsnight. 2017/18 figure: £220,000-£229,999.

Mishal Husain - £255,000-£259,999. Today programme, BBC News bulletins, Radio 4's From Our Home Correspondent. 2017/18 figure: £220,000-£229,999.

Fiona Bruce - £255,000-£259,999. BBC News, Question Time. Antiques Road Show. 2017/18 figure: £180,000-£189,999.

Laura Kuenssberg - £250,000-£254,999. Political editor, 2017/18 figure: £220,000-£229,999

Justin Webb, Martha Kearney, Simon Mayo. £245,000 - £249,999. 

Sarah Montague. Jon Sopel. £240,000 - £244,999. 

Sara Cox. £235,000 to £239,999. 

Mark Chapman. £230,000 - £234,999

Greg James. £225,000 - £229,999

Jeremy Bowen, Victoria Derbyshire. £215,000 - £219,999.

Jermaine Jenas. Amol Rajan. £210,000 - £214,999.

Louise Minchin, Katya Adler, Ian Wright. £205,000 - £209,999. 

Clive Myrie. £200,000 - £204,999.

Fergal Keane, Mary Berry, Sue Barker, £195,000 - £199,999

Naga Munchetty, Charlie Stayt, John McEnroe. £190,000 - £194,999

Tina Daheley. £185,000 - £189,999

Annie Mac, Adrian Chiles, Mark Easton, £180,000 - £184,999

£175,000 - £179,999

  • Nihal Arthanayake
  • Clare Balding

£170,000 - £174,999

  • Reeta Chakrabarti
  • Simon Jack
  • Rachel Burden
  • James Naughtie
  • Jonathan Agnew

£165,000 - £169,999

  • Ben Brown
  • Trevor Nelson

£160,000 - £164,999

  • Orla Guerin
  • John Pienaar
  • Sarah Smith
  • Shaun Keaveny

£155,000 to £159,999

  • Jane Hill
  • Mark Radcliffe
  • Eddie Mair

£150,000 to £154,999

  • Joanna Gosling
  • Clara Amfo
  • Dotun Adebayo

spacer 2

Law Commission's proposed Leasehold Reform must finally right many wrongs

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. New government initiatives to modernize living conditions must be implemented. Many affect pensioners and young people living in Sovereign Harbour and elsewhere. 

One is Commonhold instead of Leasehold. Those living in leasehold not freehold properties are asked by the Law Commission to consider the advantages of commonhold over leasehold, such as ownership not expiring so the costly procedure of lease extension does not arise; management responsibility rests exclusively with a commonhold association made up of unit holders - and more. 

Other proposals are also being debated some of which may affect and benefit the thousands of leaseholders in Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. Comments to propertyandtrust@lawcommission.gov.uk. Phone 020 3334 5333 or write to Rachel Preston, Law Commission, 1st Floor, Tower, 52 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AG.In October 2018 a report from these authors was emailed, highlighting inequities in Sovereign Harbour freehold and leasehold premises. 

Some really serious issues have still not been addressed by the Leasehold Commission and Law Commission and the Leasehold Commission says Annual Estate Rentcharges are no longer part of its remit.

Here are some of the worst issues the authorities above have deliberately ignored to date: 

Why is it that Estate Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors are ignoring the laws in effect since 2009 that require them to disclose all relevant facts about properties they market for sale or rent, or advise on in terms of value, to freehold and leasehold buyers? They can no longer escape their responsibilities in this regard, because the waiver that once applied no longer applies. They should be revealing the precise terms of the Annual Estate Rentcharge. 

They should not be misleading their clients by referring to Annual Estate Rentcharges as "harbour charges" implying they are equivalent to regular harbour charges imposed by other harbours and marinas. 

Presently, not on most estate agents or Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council or RICS 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 of £263.55 a year in 2020 in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents.  

Because of their failure to disclose the full facts 99% of newcomers who buy or lease Sovereign Harbour homes who are not from this area do not find out about this liability until they have completed their relocation or are about to do so, having sold their earlier properties and made their moves, some involving quite a considerable distance. Only when they sign their leases do they find out. 

This is concealed from them by estate agents; omitted by RICS members who are supposed to be on the lookout for irregularities or oddities;  and not picked up by their solicitors, especially when the latter are in another part of the country. 

Local councillors are just as much at fault, for not requiring that estate agents marketing Sovereign Harbour properties specify they are subject to the Annual Estate Rentcharge.

Nowhere do any estate agents state, as they should, that in respect of the Annual Estate Rentcharge a much wider flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting  likely as many as 17,000 properties beyond Sovereign Harbour, including all those in Pevensey, Pevensey Bay Bexhill-on-Sea nine miles to the east, all living in the same flood zone, do not pay a penny for the flood control measures they get.  

Only those 3,119 Sovereign Harbour residents and their successors must pay the charge levied by the multi-billion £ conglomerate The Wellcome Trust, its Premier Marinas, Sovereign Harbour Trust and other subsidiaries.

Nor is it said, as it should be, by the entities above, estate agents and local authorities that residents alone pay, exempted are all businesses including landlord owners of all properties including managing agents and property developers.

The Eastbourne Member of Parliament and Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County councillors have always stated they want to help their constituents but have repeatedly refused to help right this wrong by, for example asking our MP and others to get the relevant Act and its covenants repealed. In this respect there are two Eastbourne's, not one. 

One is fair but the Sovereign Harbour Part is not. It is subject to costs and restrictions that do not apply anywhere else both in Eastbourne and the rest off the UK.

In fact, one local authority councillor is a Director and Trustee of the private Sovereign Harbour Trust and its subsidiary company both of which levy the Annual Estate Rentcharge on behalf of The Wellcome Trust and Premier Marinas. 

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 2020. It is the only such water feature in the world that applies such a charge to properties overlooking it.

Why are some buildings that could and should be sold as freehold being sold as leasehold? The relatively few so-called "freehold" homes in Sovereign Harbour are not freehold in fee simple. They too must pay the Annual Estate Rentcharge and a management fee. For example, apartments in some new 4-apartment Sovereign Harbour buildings were sold on 999 year leases. So they incur costly management fees and more.

 Why are garages underneath multi-story residential buildings of flats - occupied by only some of their tenants - required to be subsidized by all tenants but when such buildings have lifts, only their tenants have to pay an additional annual maintenance charge? If lifts are not regarded as common-to-all property, why are their garages? 

The inequity caused by the lack of appropriate laws that presently allow owners of specific apartment buildings to tell certain individuals who lease apartments or flats that they can let their premises out on short term daily or weekly or monthly rentals, but at the same time to tell others in the same building, and even to include this in their lease, that short-term renting is not allowed. 

Landlords ought to be required by law to impose the same leasehold restrictions in every lease of every apartment in the same building.

spacer 2

Mis-use by cyclists of Sovereign Harbour walkways as cycle paths

Throughout Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, nuisance cyclists, many not living in the harbour area but in nearby caravan parks, interfere daily with the safe passage of resident walking pedestrians. Many are elderly and with limited mobility or disabled or have hearing problems. 

Cyclists believe wrongly they have an unrestricted right to cycle on both the narrow North Harbour beachfront pedestrian-only path (not a cycle path), which is not wide enough to let four people pass without giving way) and the wider inner harbour walkways. They also believe, again incorrect, they have the right of way and ring their bells to get walkers out of their way. 

Some cyclists even believe they have a right to ride two abreast. They deliberately avoid the less scenic but purpose-built cycle track shared pavement running the entire length of Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. 

Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex Council, both with jurisdiction in this matter, have not acted to stop this abuse. Nor will the neighborhood panel, or the police, act. They must take action to stop this before elderly or disabled or deaf walkers get hurt by a cyclist.

spacer 2

More calls for introduction of a Pets Charter 

Pets in leasehold homes

Sovereign Harbour is a classic example of an animal wrong that needs to be righted. Most Sovereign Harbour residential buildings are apartments or flats and most of their landowners state in their leaseholds that tenants cannot have animals. But some do anyway, when family members or other guests bring dogs which sometimes wet the carpet of lifts. 

Yet while tenants are so restricted, the general public who use Sovereign Harbour pathways and walkways with their dogs are not similarly regulated in any way. They come in droves, with no objections from councils or landlords to their use of any Sovereign Harbour route. 

Why does this tenancy unfairness by landlords exist? Called for - and not by one political party but by those who support other political entities too - is a pledge to give leasehold tenants in both public and private buildings a default right to keep pets in the leased or rented properties. 

People want and expect cross-party support to create or strengthen the rights of tenants to keep most smaller types of pets (cats, dogs, birds, etc). 

Many pensioners have - contrary to their landlord's leasehold requirements - cats or dogs, or fish in tanks or birds in cages as their only full-time companions. But there must also be a proviso that all concerned who want such a Pets Charter - including pensioners and those who are disabled in out of wheelchairs - are physically able to clean up their pets messes, both indoors and outdoors; and will put their dogs on leashes when required by local ordnances.

spacer 2

NHS: how it affects pensioners

See https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/ 

We who live in Sovereign Harbour are fortunate to have a National Health Service (NHS) Harbour Medical Practice excellent in many ways, easy to get to, less than a mile away from where we live and with fabulous doctors and staff. 

It is just such a shame that despite the fine efforts of this busy practice serving approximately 7,500 patients to arrange periodic special days to devote to specific health problems and with help from its small but active volunteer Patient Participation Group, so few of its patients bother turn up on those days to listen, learn and benefit. In so many ways the NHS is a terrific organization (and the largest single employer both in Eastbourne area and the UK). But as reported by the BBC in https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51032691 we now face delays in getting GPs to look into our problems. 

Eastbourne and other south east of London areas have the most patients per available GP in the whole of the UK. There is a shortage of available GPs and it has been reported recently by the BBC that younger GPs don't want to take on too much work and older doctors will not do overtime because it will put them into a substantially higher tax bracket. But as laymen we have to ask six key questions. 

First, given the size and scope of the NHS and its hundreds of thousands of employees, surely there has long been an urgent need for a specific NHS University to train and when appropriate  re-train and/or additionally accredit doctors, nurses and other NHS staff?  Should the present system be overhauled? If so, and on graduating from it, surely newly qualified doctors and nurses should agree to serve the NHS for at least a specified minimum contract time? 

Surely, all doctors, consultants, nurses and other healthcare professionals who work at NHS hospitals GP Practices and health centres should be regarded as NHS employees in their respective fields? Instead, most doctors are self-employed, not NHS employees. Is this not a huge additional expense to both the NHS and the Treasury, that the public has to pay for in our taxes? Once, patients at any NHS practice could count on one doctor attending to their needs for some appreciable time. 

Long gone are the days when patients were able to know their doctors would be around for some time and really get to know about and deal effectively with all manner of health concerns. Nowadays, in many practices, patients have to see different doctors each time. With the present-day complexity of the NHS this is much regretted. Progress has meant more impersonality in healthcare. With a steady stream of different GPs maximum efficiency is less likely. More and more patients are being referred to specialists and consultants at hospitals who are here today and gone tomorrow.

Second, as the Daily Telegraph noted in February 2020 the one-patient every 7 minutes rule and one specific ailment only for each GP visit has worsened not bettered matters. So many health problems these days are inter-connected with one helping to cause or affect another. In Eastbourne and area in particular, the population the East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust cares for is significantly above-average elderly (East Sussex has a relatively low birth rate and high inward migration amongst elderly age groups). Demographic trends in East Sussex indicate that pressure on health and social care services may increase more quickly in the future. Our over 85 population is also projected to grow at 3.5% per annum. 

In populations that are over 75 (and more so in those over 85), certain factors tend to markedly increase the need for hospital or community based healthcare. More people are living with ‘frailty’ and older people are also more likely to have multiple, ongoing health problems (like high blood pressure, angina, diabetes, emphysema) which means that they are more likely to become ill and need hospital attention. 

There is an urgent need to address and medically manage frailty and the risks of frailty outside hospital and  to make the ‘acute’ phase of someone’s illness as short as possible. The ability of the NHS generally to manage this problem and in particular the impact of an increase in those living with frailty will hopefully soon become a key priority. 

Third. With the full effects and impact here in the UK of the world-wide Coronavirus still not yet known, there is now huge concern by pensioners that the NHS, hugely over-stretched, will not be able to do much for them before and after they go into self-isolation and will not have enough beds for them in hospitals if they do catch the disease. And in the matter of Covid !9 vulnerability there are two definitions, vulnerable and extremely vulnerable, with the latter getting letters from GPs. 

But shouldn't those over 65, many much older, on the Disability Living Allowance and its equivalent at the Higher Rate, and those with Stage 4 cancer, or with other long-term chronic complaints including those with COPD who need to use inhalers and are always short of breath also qualify as extremely vulnerable? They did not get similar GP letters. When the Covid-19 pandemic first began in earnest in March 2020 and letters were sent out by the Prime Minister to every household it became painfully obvious to all the young and elderly alike who are afflicted with severe and long lasting medical conditions that while many wrote to or emailed the central government and when appropriate their local councils also to let them know they needed such support, those who were on their local GP lists were eligible but those who are regarded for good reason by the central government as severely  permanently disabled were not. And because they were not they were not able to get on to the priority lists the supermarkets have. Instead, they faced weeks, not days, in getting their essentials via deliveries or pickups.

Fourth. We implore the NHS to stop losing money from the public purse by default and at last implement a policy to ensure it is adequately paid for its services by non-residents of the UK who in the past and presently have defrauded the NHS. British passport-holding visitors from non-European countries, like Africa, Asia, Caribbean islands, Bermuda, Canada and USA who do not have NHS numbers are the chief offenders. Some of the latter time their trips to Britain to coincide with their operations. 

Fifth. This relates to the NHS being so allegedly wasteful in bulk buying including costs of medicines. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28490572. People once involved in the supply area have claimed that instead of one central NHS unit ordering medicines in bulk, to achieve maximum economies of scale for all the NHS Trusts, individual NHS Trusts order the medicines with no economies of scale at all. If true, this too needs a drastic change for the better. 

Sixth. There have been very disturbing recent reports of massive golden handouts to retiring or terminated NHS Trusts executives, far higher than most of the private sector would bestow.  Does the NHS really need so many separate trusts with their chief executives each paid so much? Surely, regional heads would be more cost-effective? Is the NHS over-managed in some areas? 

In defence of the NHS, when it serves so many people with so much care and devotion, at no cost to them at all for hospitalization and surgery, why should they be able to sue the NHS for those very few operations and procedures which are botched? None are deliberate but these legal actions cost the NHS £ millions annually in settlement. Surely, there should be a waver of liability? 

Also, despite the fact that so many thousands of patients, including pensioners, need to use life-changing drugs including thyroid drug liothyronine, many were recently - thankfully only temporarily - denied it when it is deemed too expensive after one of the pharmaceutical companies supplying it recently jacked up the price from 16p a tablet to the-then NHS cost of £8.55 a tablet. Other competing companies offer prices only slightly lower. 

The Competition and Markets Authority - see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/competition-and-markets-authority - needed to investigate this outrageous increase in price of 5,663%. What other drug-price-abuses have occured and what is our government doing about this? We expect the NHS with its millions of patients to be able to get advantageous prices from manufacturers.  We expect our government and its agencies, including the Competition and Markets Authority, to act in the interests of consumers and our NHS.

Not until very late 2019 did our government state that the scandal of high-cost parking at NHS hospitals, run by private car park companies, was going to end, with concessions for certain patients and their visitors. The previous system was a rip-off, with most private car park companies seriously negligent. But we now face another problem, more gross misuse by able-bodied drivers of disabled car park spaces. 

Violations galore have continued with NHS hospitals, the councils in which they are located and central government consistently both unwilling and unable to do what hospitals, local authorities and central governments beyond the UK have routinely done for years, namely crack down with heavy fines, imprisonment for persistent offenders and confiscation of their vehicles for deliberately and contemptuously ignoring the legal rights of the truly disabled whose disabilities are such that disabled parking spaces closer to hospital and other medical services are really needed. 

Another problem affects those who want to travel to Europe. What will happen to their NHS-provided European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) with effect from January 1, 2021? The UK  exits the EU on 31 January 2020 but it has been revealed the EHIC cards will remain valid until December 31 of that year. The EHIC has been a huge relief to many travelers to Europe. They were able to get the same level of free basic healthcare and hospitalization in the EU that the NHS in the UK provides. Will this stop completely after 31 December 2020?

At some NHS medical centres and GP surgeries it is now stated that pharmacists have a unique role to play. They can often be the first persons to contact for minor health problems where patients do not need to see a doctor. They can also give heart tests. 

Some common other complaints where a pharmacist might help are aches and pains, headache, migraine, period and teething pains, allergies and stings, colds and flu,  ear care, stomach ache, skin and mouth problems, hay fever and more. 

But what has not been stated is that when you visit a pharmacy without visiting a doctor first and without a doctor's prescription to help remedy what ails you, any off-the-shelf non-prescription medication you get from that pharmacy will have to be paid for instead of it being normally free of cost when payment exemption normally applies. 

Many have publicly expressed their apprehensions that in the event of a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and USA the NHS could become a target. It is hoped this will not happen, that the BBC not NHS will instead be affected because the USA's Public Broadcasting Service is free to all, unlike the BBC with its awful and expensive TV Licensing requirement for all households including from 2020 those over 75. 

But it should be known by those who want the NHS to stay British that more and more NHS goods and services are already in American hands. Examples include Boots and ASDA stores and pharmacies wholly owned by giant American corporations; in-hospital patient TV services are American controlled; corporate ownership in the USA of a vast array of prescription drugs sold or dispensed in the UK; and in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland vast numbers of NHS-used computers and diagnostic machines are made in or directly or indirectly supplied by the USA.

The NHS has announced its Long Term plan - see https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-term-plan/- with more staff to serve in communities. It has too many points to mention here but it is encouraging, especially to those of us who are older. Many new services are either already in place or are being contemplated. A Long Term Plan National Assembly is also on the cards, see https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/terms-of-reference-nhs-assembly.pdf 

A newcomer is Social Prescribing and its mention of public partners. At first sight it appears similar to what has been achieved in NHS Scotland for some time. See https://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/GettingInvolved/NHSTaysidePublicPartners/index.htm.( Both this author and his wife were once NHS Tayside Public Partners until we re-located in 2016 to Eastbourne). It was a wonderful experience and helped us hugely to realize what an amazing organization the NHS is. It has helped us so much in so many ways, not just medically but in our appreciation of the NHS and its services. We hope this will help all NHS patients to realize what a uniquely valuable organization it is.

On 2nd August 2020 the BBC announced that because of the Covid-19 related social distancing rules and regulations now in effect at all NHS and other hospitals, all operations now take up to double the time and as another result have been delayed. And it was earlier announced that patients now need a specific appointment before they can visit their GP and some doctors will telephone patients at home. It may be months or years before normal conditions return and in that time there may be some more significant changes ahead that instead of being temporary will be permanent. 

In the meantime, and rightly so, the NHS has proved its value and NHS Volunteers deserve more than just public thanks but medals for what they have done to help those in need.

But in the view of this author and those many other pensioners, especially given the Covid-19 problems created that have prevented us for six months now from going to dentists and opticians, there is more now than ever before a need for the NHS to be all inclusive, free at the point of use and include dental, eye and elderly care services. And a National Care Service (NCS) should be part of the NHS. If the NHS really is a national health service instead of it being a national partly-health service it should surely cover both home and other residential care. It should be created and funded like the NHS through general taxation, free at the point of use for all legitimate and qualifying residents and without means-testing. 

Presently, the lack of any such plan means nursing and retirement homes do not get adequately nationally or regionally supervised, with the Care Quality Commission plainly inadequate. Nursing and retirement homes staff are often poorly paid, on minimum wages and living, medical and other standards existing at those residential homes can vary hugely. And a huge injustice occurs, with highest council tax payers in individual councils paying for most of the costs of council-provided retirement homes but getting nothing back in return, no free council-provided retirement homes, only huge assessed annual costs, while those with total assessed assets including the value of their homes if they own them of under £24,500 pay nothing at all for their council-provided retirement homes.

spacer 2

Social Care unfairness of Councils, a National Care Service is needed

Two seniorsThe current social care system used by local authorities throughout the UK cheats residents, unlike the methodology long-used in the European Community.

There, National Health Service and Local Authority equivalents were long ago integrated and treat all citizens fairly and equally.

There, there is no need to sell your home, or seek a "Deferred Payment Agreement" with your relevant local  authority. 

It has been revealed that more than 6,400 such agreements worth over £214 million are in effect.  Under such agreements if their savings are less than £23,250 then in England then the local council agrees to pay home care fees itself and is repaid from the estate of the person in care when he or she dies

In bleak contrast, except for system shown above that merely defers payment, does not eliminate it, here in the UK those with total assets including their homes exceeding £23,500 may have to pay up to 100% of their care, while others with total assets including the value where they live if their own it or own their lease for over a specified length of time can get up to 100% local authority funding

Scandinavian and other European countries are appalled by this callousness towards the elderly here in the UK. A new type of social care system – a combination of National Health and Social Care Service – integrated with the NHS and funded through general taxation, is called for, urgently. 

What we really need now here in the UK is a tax-funded National Care Service that can cater to all with care needs, not just the people below the minimum total assets threshold described earlier, along the lines of what has happened beyond England. 

The current system of social care funding is grossly unfair and needs revision as a matter of urgency.

A few years ago, the Scottish Government introduced it throughout Scotland and while not perfect, it is working. The rest of the UK should, too. See http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Policy/Health-Social-Care-Integration and http://isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Health-and-Social-Community-Care/Health-and-Social-Care-Integration/ and https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/integrated-care-northern-ireland-scotland-and-wales

See What it Means in Scotland, at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2013/05/16/what-integration-with-health-means-for-scotlands-social-workers/ and our own summary about this at www.sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk/Integratedservices.htm

spacer 2

Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour's outrageous £263.55 in 2020 Annual Estate RentCharge

 See www.sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk/Estaterentcharge.htm.

Sovereign Harbour propertiesSo say numerous estate agents and legal entities. It applies nowhere else in the UK, Europe or the world, yet our Member of Parliament and Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council councillors have not seriously tried for more than 15 years to get it revoked. 

They keep saying they are working on it purely to help get them re-elected.

This injustice accentuates to the world that there are two Eastbourne's, not one. Eastbourne 1 has 11 wards and is fair. But Eastbourne 2, with one ward, Sovereign Ward, of which Sovereign Harbour is the bigger part, is massively prejudiced against.

Pensioners who seek to move to Sovereign Harbour and at the same time need or want to downsize not just in terms of size of a house or flat but also in recurring annual or monthly expenses such as council tax and other overheads, should beware of this unique annual Estate Rent Charge. 

Why? Because so many law offices of repute warn you to beware of investing in a place with unique covenants and other restrictions.   

In Sovereign Harbour alone, nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world, all freehold and leased homes or flats, whether worth £170,000 or £1.25 million, will cost you and those who later buy your property a covenanted Estate Rent Charge of £263.55 in 2020 based on the rate of inflation.  

Plus, Council Tax, even for a modest 2-bedroom flat, will also be much higher than equivalently-priced properties elsewhere in Eastbourne or beyond.

 What makes it so additionally unfair is that only the 3,119 Sovereign Harbour residents concerned pay this flood charge, not the more than 14,000 residents also in the same flood area east of the harbour. 

And, if you plan on living in a certain part of Sovereign Harbour South, you will have to pay a further covenanted annual Water Feature charge of a type that exists nowhere else. 

And although all developments are private including the pathways and walkways, the public are free to roam anywhere, with their dogs and cycles, completely without charge, with only the residents having to pay. 

Qualifying residents who live there are not offered the exclusivity they deserve and should be entitled to when they sign their leases.

Only when this Annual Estate Rentcharge is revoked will Sovereign Harbour be a much less expensive place in which to live. Until then, pensioners need to know that Sovereign Harbour requires you to pay appreciably more in overheads not found anywhere else in the UK. 

Even when other the few other places have an Estate Rent Charge, it is only nominal, £10 or so a year, not Sovereign Harbour's outrageous £263.55 per unit. 

Our Member of Parliament until 12 December 2019 never acted to help right this wrong, did not call for repeal of applicable legislation and covenants that exist nowhere else. 

Hopefully, the new MP will, but this has to be doubted for two reasons - it has already gone on for so long; and another Member of Parliament from the same political party represents constituents who get the same flood services for free and want it continued that way, unlike Sovereign Harbour residents alone who have to pay for it.  

The local community group which says it represents residents has never tried to take this case to Members of the European Parliament and beyond. 

It has never objected to the fact that estate agents deliberately evade making mention of the Annual Estate Rentcharges.

It has never objected to the fact that on all the websites of The Wellcome Trust, Premier Marinas, Eastbourne Harbour, the Sovereign Harbour Trust, its subsidiary Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) and Pevensey it has deliberately never been stated that the Annual Estate Rentcharge is paid by only Sovereign Harbour residents, no-one else.

It has never objected to the fact that because the "harbour charge" is used misleadingly instead of the Annual Estate Rentcharge being quoted accurately, mortgages are being granted despite the fact that for legal reasons, reputable mortgage companies will not deal with Estate Rentcharge-levied properties.

Some residents are now making a formal complaint to European, North American and other authorities. Some also want the injustice and world uniqueness of the Estate Rent Charge to be brought to the attention of the international press organizations.

A formal complaint about the injustice and unfairness of the Annual Estate Rentcharge was also made in September/October 2018 to the Government's Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, House of Commons, London SW1A GAA. Email hclgcom@parliament.uk

But no reply has been received from its members  who are: Edward Beale, Clerk, email bealee@parliament.uk; Jenny Burch, Second Clerk, email burchj@parliament; Tamsin Maddock, Committee Specialist, at maddockt@parliament.uk; Nick Taylor, Committee Specialist, email taylornc@parliament.uk; Tony Catinella, Senior Committee Assistant, email catinellat@parliament.uk and Eldon Gallagher, Committee Support Assistant, at gallaghe@parliament.uk.  

It is incredible that with so many other things being legally amended or eliminated or eradicated in the interests of justice, there has been no change in this long-outstanding matter. 

spacer 2

Travel Insurance for elderly with medical conditions is outrageously priced or no longer available

More than 15 million people so affected are unfairly treated by travel insurers. Those issued by Santander and its travel insurer Chubb were singled out in a The Times newspaper report of 6 October 2018, page 65. 

The Financial Conduct Authority, the industry regulator, has noted how those with medical conditions face a lack of transparency around policies and have great difficulty finding competitively-priced insurance. 

In future comments, we will show what  options could and should be available to those who may need them, as well as those not always needed, such as repatriation home in the event of death. 

Only in the UK do citizens and residents have such a hard and expensive time in getting travel insurance at an affordable price. Why! Canadian, American, Europeans, etc. can get travel insurance inexpensively.

spacer 2

UK energy cost are sky-high compared to elsewhere

household gas 

We still have to search yearly for the best energy deal. The cost of electricity, averaging 18p per kilowatt hour plus a standing charge (surcharge), is outrageous compared to the USA's, Canada's and the EU's overall national average of US$0.11 cents per kilowatt hour. 

spacer 2

Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA) not increased since 2012

A universal age-related benefit not means-tested. It once enabled UK-resident pensioners to recoup about a third of the cost of their heating and lighting costs. Now it is less than one sixth. 

Yet in comparison, local government council taxes, Members of Parliament salaries, fuel costs and overall costs-of-living, to quote just three examples,  have risen by at least 5% a year since 2012. But not the WFA.

The injustice of this by the government has not been reported internationally. Fuel poverty affects over 40% of all pensioners. True, there are some who can afford to give the WFA to the NHS as Dame Esther Rantzen has suggested. But most pensioners of moderate means or lower cannot. 

It is shameful that this long-standing matter has never been addressed by Members of Parliament, local authorities, seniors associations and  groups concerned about the elderly. Premier Boris Johnson and his new majority government must right this wrong if they wish to be re-elected in 2023.

spacer 2

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

165-plus webfiles of Bermuda Online

Email.gif (14893 bytes)

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