For newcomers to Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne's Sovereign Ward. Sovereign Harbour is a flat, disability/mobility-friendly and scenic locale but also the most expensive in Britain. Residents pay nearly double the council taxes that Buckingham Palace and owners of other multi-million pound properties incur in central London. Additionally, all newcomers are liable for annual flood defence and harbour charges not levied anywhere else in Britain or Europe or the world. A much wider geographical area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, with thousands more homes, yet only Sovereign Harbour owners (and, significantly, future buyers of their property) must pay. All businesses including property developments are exempted. Potential newcomers need to know about these costs (about £250 a year in 2017) in addition to council taxes, management fees and ground rents or leases, and accept them or instead go elsewhere. A recent Member of Parliament has stated these extra costs are unfair, unjust and should be revoked.
By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both disabled, they live in Eastbourne at Sovereign Harbour and write, administer and webmaster this website. Keith is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an international consumer activist for the disabled.
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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.
Hampden Park. A suburb, notable for its unique railway station, where local trains stop twice, and thought to be the busiest level crossing in Europe. once named Willingdon Halt.
See http://www.eastbourneairshow.com/. 17- 20 August 2017. 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 much more
A thrilling 3-day weekend affair every mid-August. One of town's biggest and best attractions.
See http://www.eastbournebandstand.co.uk/?spektrix_bounce=true. For disabled visitors see http://www.eastbournebandstand.co.uk/your-visit/access/?spektrix_bounce=true.
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. For example, at http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/residents/dogs-and-animal-welfare/.
7th October 2017. See http://www.visiteastbourne.com/Eastbourne-Eastbourne-Seafront/details/?dms=3&venue=3416006&feature=2
See Eastbourne Royal Sovereign Bowls Club at https://royalsovereignbowls.wordpress.com/.
See http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/residents/leisure-and-events/parks/carpet/ and http://www.visiteastbourne.com/Eastbourne-Carpet-Gardens/details/?dms=3&venue=3402950.
See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_places_of_worship_in_Eastbourne and https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=eastbourne+churches&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari#istate=lrl:xpd.
Also see local house and flat prices at http://www.home.co.uk/guides/house_prices.htm?location=eastbourne.
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.
Before buying or renting, prospective owners or long-leaseholders of most if not all the 3,700+ homes in Sovereign Harbour need to know in advance from estate agents that both they and their successors will have to pay the annual harbour charge flood defence scheme. But they are not informed that only they, no others in the same flood area or Eastbourne or UK or world areas, are required to pay it. The harbour charge, about £250 pounds in 2017, having been increased significantly since it was first introduced, is a flood defence scheme that surrounds the harbour, applies east and west of Eastbourne and considerably beyond it on both sides. New buyers are discriminated against, under an East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council-approved Deed and Grant of Covenant. A condition of the sales contract obliges the purchaser of Sovereign Harbour flats or units (but not the owners of the buildings or any others in the flood defence area), no other residents in any other part of Eastbourne or beyond, to pay for this. Yet a failure of the flood defence scheme anywhere along this length of coast could possibly affect as many as, 17,000 homes, far more than just in Sovereign Harbour and cause damage to homeowners possibly amounting to billions of pounds. No other harbour and marina in the UK or Europe or the world make only this local community pay for flood defences that go far beyond just this local community and no other local authorities in the world, only our East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council, permit and have never legally challenged it. The cost of this scheme to owners and lessees does not include flood insurance indemnity. Sovereign Harbour residents alone pay the cost but do not get any compensatory insurance-provided under the covenant protection for that cost. The Sovereign Harbour Residents Association (SHRA) have long challenged the validity of this plan and have advised those so affected to pay it to avoid a potential legal problem but to also protest it in writing when they pay it. In the pdf file on the Notes of the Minutes of the 2016 AGM of the SHRA there is an account of what has happened to date and by whom, including how the SHRA paid a substantial sum to a barrister for a legal opinion that questioned the validity of the charge but was met by a challenge by the adversaries involved to take it to court. It also shows the valued efforts of Member of Parliament until June 8, 2017 Caroline Ansell, who believed the SHRA was right to raise this matter, to get some answers, duly requested but not yet received from the Environmental Agency she visited. It has now been suggested to the SHRA that because there still has been no resolution of this long-standing matter despite the continued efforts of our Member of Parliament that challenge should now be met, not in a UK court at this time but instead as a notification to the Environment Secretary that if his office will not cause the charge to be cancelled initially it is going to be referred to our MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) while we still have them, in hope they in turn can recommend it be referred to European agencies including if possible the European Court of Human Rights on grounds it is not a valid charge applied elsewhere but an unprecedented and an unfairly unique one and discriminatory in that only Sovereign Harbour flat or terraced home owners/long leaseholders/part freeholders have to pay it, not building owners or any other residents of the same flood defence area affected. It will also go to other international media. Additionally, for a number of properties in the South Harbour area where the Water Feature is located, residential owners and/or lessees are required to pay annually for a percentage of the cost of that Water Feature, about £305 a year in 2017. It needs to be noted that both these annual Harbour Charges and Water Feature charges are in addition to council taxes and regular water costs.
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 possibly four separate organizations purchasers of those leasehold properties should know about. They all have different roles. The first is the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association, see http://www.shra.co.uk, established in 2000 to give Harbour residents a strong. non-political purely socio-economic and co-ordinated voice in all discussions on the management and development of Sovereign Harbour. In 2017 about 2,470 residents are members. As the leading voice in the community, the group represents the interests of not just some but all harbour residents whether renting, leasing or owning and is consulted by local authorities, police, etc. Its website shows its unique community-wide value and benefits, for a very moderate not yearly but lifetime cost, not only of the individual but all Sovereign Harbour residents in that family, all of whom should join. Showing a membership card can often result in discounts at harbourside restaurants and more. 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 harbour 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 and/or Sovereign Harbour 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 or Sovereign Harbour 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 in Sovereign Harbour 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.
See http://www.fishermensclub.co.uk/. Sports and social club for members.
See http://www.eastbournehotels.org.uk/contact.html. 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, see http://planningpolicyconsult.eastbourne.gov.uk/consult.ti/TAR_SPD/viewCompoundDoc?docid=8089684&sessionid=&voteid=&partId=8090292, 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 District General Hospital
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.
See http://www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/ and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastbourne_Redoubt.
See https://www.petrolprices.com/members-search.html?search=Eastbourne,%20United%20Kingdom&latlng=50.768035,0.2904720000000225. Presently £1.17 and £1.19 sterling a litre, for unleaded and diesel, respectively. There are a number of petrol stations in the town.
See https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=eastbourne+schools&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari. Primary and secondary schools are in the town and region. School buses serve many local residential areas.
Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra
See http://www.eastbourneleisurecentres.com/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.
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. See https://www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/. Also the Royal Hippodrome, see http://royalhippodrome.com/ and Underground Theatre, see http://undergroundtheatre.co.uk/
Operator, Southern Railway, see http://www.southernrailway.com/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/advance/.Eastbourne
See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Holland_5. A world War 1 submarine that sank five or so miles from Beachy Head, Eastbourne
See http://pevenseytimeline.co.uk/the-crumbles-green-coat-murder/ for rich local history.
Sovereign Harbour and marinas, facilities and shops
See https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/eastbourne-age-concern-walking-for-wellness. Eastbourne Age Concern.
|Eastbourne town profile||Eastbourne & UK Council Tax injustices||Emails|
|Sovereign Harbour||Sovereign Harbour Disability Association (SHDA)||Sovereign Ward|
Keith also writes
Written, administered and web-mastered by
Forbes and Lois A Forbes,
© 2017. Revised: August 19, 2017