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Not mentioned on any council or public authority or community websites, only this one, is that potential purchasers of residential Sovereign Harbour property need to know in advance that the annual flood defence and harbour charge payable by them is not levied anywhere else in Britain or Europe or the world. A much wider geographical flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting  more than 17,000 homes as far as Bexhill, yet only 3,700 Sovereign Harbour residents (and subsequent owners) must pay the annual cost, nearly 260 in 2018. A recent Member of Parliament has stated publicly this is unfair and unjust. All business services including management companies and property developers are exempted. An additional covenant applies to owners of some South Harbour properties in the water feature precinct. In both cases, they are in addition to local council taxes, insurance, management fees and ground rents. 

Sovereign Ward, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England

Electoral voting area with Councillors from Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council

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Sovereign Harbour

Beaches Council Tax Wrongs Eastbourne Disability Association

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Integrated Council/NHS Pensioners Concerns Property Guidelines Sovereign Ward

By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes at editor@sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk  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.

Sovereign Harbour North scene

Sovereign Harbour North Photos below cc these authors Keith and Lois Forbes

Sovereign Harbour North 3

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

Sovereign Ward

Sovereign Harbour is part of Eastbourne's Sovereign Ward and its eastern boundary is also the eastern boundary of Eastbourne. A Ward is an electoral area for Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council for collection of Council Tax purposes. It is now one of the largest Eastbourne wards. It is unique in having both a splendid harbour area, the largest composite marina development in the UK. and the largest sheltered marina in northern Europe. It also includes the residential areas of Langney Point and Kingsmere, as well as homes on the south side of St. Anthony's Avenue and the Queen's Crescent area. Although Sovereign Harbour is the most densely populated area of Eastbourne it has the fewest public open spaces. The over-development of the area has led to a severe shortage of street parking for both residents and visitors, and the failure to provide play areas has left most local children with little option but to play in residential roads.

For its fascinating history see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Harbour. In Eastbourne's now most highly populated Sovereign Ward. 2.5 miles east of Eastbourne on the A259 Pevensey Bay Road going to Bexhill-On-Sea and Hastings. Developed by Carillion. Opened in 1993 by the late Princess Diana, it has over 600 permanent berths, with some 3,000 yachts visiting each year. 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. All the streets in the four residential areas have overseas names from exotic places around the world. There is a number of high street-type shops and a multi-screen cinema, described in more detail below, clustered in the Crumbles/Sovereign Harbour Village shopping area no more than one mile from all the marinas.

It does not get the same recognition from its two local authorities as other parts of Eastbourne do

Five examples highlight this:

1. Sovereign Harbour is now one of the most attractive parts of Eastbourne scenically and unique in having both a splendid harbour area and the largest sheltered marina in northern Europe, but.....

 It has the busy The Waterfront area of shops and restaurants and late night bars, stating proudly on its website it is "Eastbourne's International Experience" (see top right of http://www.eastbourneharbour.com). As such it attracts a wide range of  local residents, visitors from other areas of the town and tourists from regional, national and international areas, who often arrive by coach. It also has the adjacent, important and strategic The Crumbles shopping centre that attracts customers from across town, Bexhill and beyond. Its residential community has streets deliberately named after places from around the world to help attract and retain such such clientele.  

But Sovereign Harbour is not included in any of the present or planned Tourism Accommodation areas of Eastbourne. There, they are are confined to the town or nearby on its western side, see http://planningpolicyconsult.eastbourne.gov.uk/consult.ti/TAR_SPD/viewCompoundDoc?docid=8089684&sessionid=&voteid=&partId=8090292, According to that illustration there are no present or planned facilities in Sovereign Harbour, now one of Eastbourne's major tourism and visitor attractions. All tourism accommodation and visitor attractions are listed merely in or near the much more crowded Eastbourne town area, nice for local residents perhaps but now constantly and increasingly frustrating to tourists and visitors and not at all convenient to Sovereign Harbour (especially in rush hour or busy summertime traffic when it can take over 40 minutes by car or bus to go from the Eastbourne Pier area or town hotels to Sovereign Harbour less than three miles away). There are no Sovereign Harbour hotels but there are quite a few flats that offer quality tourist accommodation. Places with similar scenic features in other parts of the world that do offer any type of tourism accommodation are given adequate mention by their jurisdictions and it should be the case here too. Another serious omission is that on the Visitors sections of websites of the EBC under "Walks" and visitor attractions, no mention is made of the very considerable attractions of Sovereign Harbour. Some local residents believe that both the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council should be actively encouraging the building of a new 4 star hotel also offering business conference facilities and the establishment of a new Sovereign Harbour Tourism Development group. They deem it at least as important if not more so than the building of a community centre. 

2. Sovereign Harbour is in the Eastbourne electoral ward for Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council for collection of Council Taxes, but neither of the two Sovereign Harbour (North and South) beaches are among the listed Eastbourne beaches

Listed Eastbourne beaches only go as far as groyne number 94 at Langney Point. See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/_resources/assets/inline/full/0/209207.pdf. The Eastbourne beach list should have long ago been extended to include these two Sovereign Ward beaches in Eastbourne. Presently, because they are not included in Eastbourne's beaches despite being in the Sovereign Ward councils area, they do not get the same level of supervision, oversight, dogs and leashes controls, usage rules and maintenance as Eastbourne beaches. No other localities in the UK with beaches in their council tax area deliberately omit beaches from their council jurisdiction.

3. While some residents of the ward - those in the residential areas of Langney Point and Kingsmere and homes on the south side of St. Anthony's Avenue and the Queen's Crescent - are not liable to pay the harbour water/flood defense charge on top of their regular water charges, those in the Sovereign Harbour area are. 

Only the owners of the properties and their successors of the 3,700+ homes in Sovereign Harbour, no one else in Eastbourne, have to pay, annually not just once, for the Estate Rent Charge/flood defence scheme, otherwise known as the harbour charge, that surrounds the harbour and Eastbourne, under a Deed and Grant of Covenant. A condition of the sales contract obliges the purchaser of the flats or units (but not the owners of the buildings) to pay for the flood defence rent charges. Yet a failure of the flood defence scheme anywhere along this length of coast would affect as many as 17,000 homes, far more than just in Sovereign Harbour and cause them damage possibly amounting to billions of pounds. No other harbour and marina in the UK or Europe or the world or local authorities make only this local community pay for flood defences that go far beyond just this local community. These two gross inequities in how differently Sovereign Ward constituents are treated have have never been legally challenged by either of the two Councils. It is hoped the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association will refer this situation to the newly appointed (since the middle of June 2017) Environment Minister and also Members of the European Parliament, hopefully via them to the European Commission, European Court of Human Rights if also applicable to get these wrongs righted, the relevant EU and UN Environmental commissions and international media. 

4. The Eastbourne Borough Council has a representative on the board of the private sector Sovereign Harbour Trust that levies the Estate Rental Charge/harbour charge/water/flood defense charge above.

Instead of formally objecting to it on behalf of their Sovereign Harbour constituents who alone have to pay the charge, and/or ensuring that others beyond Sovereign Harbour  who are also included in the flood area must pay it too instead of being exempted, our two councils now have direct representation on the facility that requires us to pay it via its Community Interest Company.

5. Estate Rental Charge Penalty by Councillors

Even with this Estate Rental Charge occurring solely and uniquely within their jurisdiction, and meaning that leasehold properties are thus covenanted in ways no other local authority encounters, the Eastbourne County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council do not have a similarly unique category of a lower council tax applicable solely to Estate Rental Charge sufferers. Instead of being shown legally as Renters because they come under the Estate Rental Charge, even when they are in fact not owners but long-leaseholders, for council tax purposes they are unfairly shown as "owners."

6. Sovereign Harbour public roads, in an otherwise pleasant area, have a unique negative distinction of being completely devoid of any council-provided tree-lined pavements

Trees needed for Sovereign Harbour pavements & walkways

Trees on an European walkway. Photo by authors Keith and Lois Forbes. If only Sovereign Harbour had such trees on any of its walkways or pavements......

trees in a seaside area but not Sovereign Harbour

Trees overseas that grace a seaside area. No trees of any kind similarly enhance the Sovereign Harbour or its seaside area.

The main thoroughfares of Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Avenue in particular, and all their side streets, instead of showing off the public highways, landscape and harbour to best advantage, can presently be compared to featureless and flora-deficient military bases or some residential areas immediately adjacent to prisons  In all other nice neighborhoods their councils both plant trees and roadside shrubs and pay the cost of maintaining them and these costs are included in their council taxes. This should be the case in Sovereign Harbour also. In all other worldwide locations where scenic harbours and seaside exist, their local authorities have planted tall trees and palms. Photographs showing how Sovereign Harbour compares with international harbour, marina and seaside areas in tree-lined scenes will shortly be appearing.

10 Best Trees to Plant on your Street or Sidewalk. See https://www.thoughtco.com/best-trees-to-plant-street-and-sidewalk-1343569 

The Magic of Tree-Lined Streets. See https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/6/26/the-magic-of-tree-lined-streets-1 https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/6/26/the-magic-of-tree-lined-streets-1

Plants for Coastal Areas. See https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=472 

Urban Tree Planting Opportunities. See http://www.greenblue.com/gb/green-infrastructure/urban-tree-planting-opportunities/ 

7. In addition to the above four disadvantages Sovereign Harbour residents have to endure, they also pay overall the highest council taxes in Eastbourne

Council Tax costs

 Far more than some properties worth considerably more in market price but with lower Council Tax bands

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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  
2018. Revised: April 13, 2018