After twenty years of construction the main residential element of the Sovereign Harbour development came to an end in 2009.

However, the social infrastructure necessary to turn this enormous area of housing into a sustainable community has been almost completely ignored.

Development of the promised high-quality business park that should have been the 'work' element of the 'work-life' environment that was the objective of the original 'Marina Village' concept has also been slow.

Since 2016 further residential development has begun to take place on three of the remaining development sites.

Some History

Following the initial phases of construction, for a number of years SHRA successfully fought to prevent further development on the five remaining sites for which outline planning consent for residential development had been granted. During the campaigns, these sites were referred to generically as “The Five Sites” (Sites 1-5 in the list on this page).

As a last ditch effort before the carte blanche consent expired, developers Carillion submitted five planning applications for residential development on four of these sites. The plans were all unanimously refused by Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) Planning Committee after a huge public demonstration of opposition. Following the refusal of these applications and following pressure by SHRA, Carillion agreed not to pursue appeals against the refusal and offered to work with residents to seek an equitable solution.

The Master Plan

Carillion then entered into discussions with SHRA, and officers and cabinet members of the then Conservative controlled EBC, on the creation of a Master Plan for the final development of all the remaining harbour development land. These negotiations continue with the Liberal Democrat administration.

Five Become Eleven

During the negotiations, other vacant sites not included in the now expired outline planning consent for residential development, were brought into the arena. For the first time, all eleven sites of remaining development land were put in the melting pot.

Harbour Development - History

This page outlines the development of Sovereign Harbour, and SHRA's position on future development. Eleven undeveloped parcels of land remain.

Under construction 1 Under construction 2
Two sets of photos taken during the harbour's construction in 1992.
Click photo to enlarge & see others (PDF).


1967 - A harbour village incorporated into the Eastbourne urban plan.
1975 - Eastbourne Harbour Bill blocked in Parliament
1980 - A new Eastbourne Harbour Bill passed.
1980 - Harbour construction plans shelved due to rising costs.
1986 - Plans for harbour, marina, an hotel and 2,000 homes announced.
1988 - Chatsworth Trustees pull out and sell land to Tarmac and Asda.
1988 - An amended Harbour Bill passed.
1989 - Asda superstore opens.
1991 - Digging out of outer harbour begins.
1992 - Construction of locks and lining of harbour commences.
1993 - Harbour and marina operational.
1996 - Housing development commences
1997 - Residential development and construction of North Harbour approved.
1997 - Construction of homes around West Harbour area approved.
1999 - Construction of 'The Waterfront' commences.
2001 - Haven School opens. (newspaper report)
2001 - Residential development and water feature of South Harbour approved.
2005 - B&Q plans for a superstore rejected
2006 - 'Five Sites' residential plans rejected.
2008 - Petition for a Parish Council for Sovereign Harbour refused.
2009 - Local Liberal Democrats publish plans for the 11 Sites in a draft Master Plan.
2009 - The then local MP Nigel Waterson responded to the Liberal Democrat Master Plan.
2009 - Harbour Medical Centre plans approved.
2009 - Following a consultation, EBC publish LDF feedback report.
2010 - Pacific Drive adopted.
2010 - Planned residential construction ends.
2010 - Medical Centre build commences
2010 - 'The Eastbourne Plan' proposes further residential development.
2011 - Plans to improve and rename the retail park announced
2011 - Joint Statement over future development at Sovereign Harbour.
2011 - Plans submitted for regeneration of the retail park.
2011 - Medical Centre opens.
2013 - Sovereign Harbour SPD ratified.
2013 - Fishing Quay application given consent.
2013 - Outline Master Plan application given consent.
2015 - Pacific House opens in the Innovation Park
2016 - Revised Fishing Quay application given consent.
2016 - Reserved matters planning application for Site One given consent.
2016 - Sovereign Harbour New Homes web site
2016 - Reserved matters planning application for Site Eight given consent.
2016 - Reserved matters planning application for Site Seven (b and c) given consent.
2017 - Community Centre planning application submitted.