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5 October from North Harbour resident Ray Blakebrough


I referrer to the 31 August letter by Carole Penney on cycling on the Strand.


It would seem that our councillors will not fight for pedestrian rights in the harbour. We all know that the Humberts report stated that the harbour development was not suitable for cycling and Becky Shaw CEO of ESCC wrote to the effect that she was not supportive of the Bespoke cycling map which takes cycling along this path.


Councils have been asked to deliver equal investment and planning of safe walking and safe cycling routes. To date 2012  to 2017, ESCC have purely focussed on cycling schemes, the majority of which has been imposing shared areas on pedestrians and sadly taking away safe comfortable leisure walking areas such as the harbour strand to the benefit of cyclists.


Finally, it would seem our elected representatives David Elkin and our Boro councillors will not campaign to maintain safe walking space. In this instance the suggestion is a "share with care" style of approach which is both meaningless and dangerous. Bexhill have a pedestrian priority ruling in shared areas quite why we cannot have the same is baffling. Having said that the key point is - Our County and Boro councils are neglecting pedestrians by failing to deliver safe walking strategies. In fact they are actively making it less safe to walk.


Ray Blakebrough

1 September 2017 - from Noth Harbour resident Ivor Rumsey

Dear Sir/Madam

I couldn't agree more with the recent letter from Ian Weeks regarding the meeting between SHRA and Stephen Lloyd MP. It succinctly summarises the state of limbo that exists for us all in Sovereign Harbour.

Unfortunately, we have always been the poor relation of Eastbourne and although Mr Lloyd represents all in his constituency, I believe he will always default to serving the interests of Eastbourne first (as shown in Ian Week's letter).

I cannot see how this situation will change anytime soon and therefore it's so sad to see that the laudable objectives and vision statements as contained in the Sovereign Harbour SPD, will remain what they are - Utopian aspirations.

Kind regards
Ivor Rumsey

31 August 2017 - from South Harbour resident Carole Penney

Ok I want to know what the legalities are for cyclists on the strand. That's the stretch of walk way/promenade that goes from the lock to the first Martello tower [The outer harbour prom].

My house backs on to this walkway and I have almost been run over as I have exited my back gate. Over the weekend of the airborne there were so many near accidents one was a small child about 18 moths where the cyclist had its front wheel pushing the child's backside. I need to know where I stand against these uncaring cyclists.

Carole Penney


SHRA Response - It's a good question Carole. I'm not the expert on this, but I know that the Outer Harbour prom is not a designated cycle route. Whether cycling on it is actually probibited, I don't know.

29 August 2017 - from North Harboure resident Ian Weeks

I was very pleased to hear that the SHRA has engaged with Stephen Lloyd MP in respect of the ongoing issues that continue to affect the sustainability of the Sovereign Harbour community.  I was, however, astonished to hear that Mr Lloyd “was particularly annoyed by the length of time it is taking to provide the proposed bus lane linking the North and South Harbours”

Back in August 2011 (see Waterlines Issue 60) Prupim, the then owners of the Sovereign Harbour Retail Park (SHRP), put forward proposals for a £14million regeneration of the park. This included a number of new restaurants and a nine-screen cinema.  In the light of this, Sovereign Harbour examined how the new development could be linked to the Waterfront to create an exciting out-of-town leisure complex.

Central to these plans was a new route for the cross-harbour bus link which would bring additional visitors to the centre and, more importantly, vastly improve bus services from the harbour to the Town Centre.  These plans were endorsed by residents at a very well attended public consultation and were given planning consent.

However, before work could be started, Legal and General (L&G), the owners of the Arndale Centre, challenged the classification of the SHRP in the Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy as a “District Shopping Centre”.  If successful, this challenge would have put severe restriction on the usage of a number of the retail units.   This challenge was fully supported by Mr Lloyd who said the extension of the Arndale Centre was more important to Eastbourne, and nothing must be done to jeopardise “HIS Town Centre”

Despite the challenge, and the added opposition of planning officers, who argued against the council’s policy, the District Status of the SHRP was endorsed by the Planning Inspector at the LDF Examination in Public.  L&G, however, sought Judicial Review of the inspector’s decision in the High Court, but the Court upheld the decision and confirmed the District Shopping Centre status.  However, the legal process took so much time that Prupim decided to use their £14million on other projects that would bring a quicker return. 

As a consequence of this action not only was the new nine-screen cinema lost, but also the existing cinema.  (See Waterlines Issue 71).  Also, having had its plans thwarted, Prupim’s successor in ownership of the retail park, M&G, remove permission for the bus link to pass over its land until such time as a decision was taken on the retail park’s future.

Had this challenge not been supported, Sovereign Harbour would now be an important and thriving centre for leisure, tourism and retail activities, and an important generator of income for Eastbourne.  Instead, the Town Centre continues to decline, a process that is unlikely to be reversed by the Arndale Centre extension, which looks to be second-rate, at best.

You will, I hope, see why I am so astonished at Mr Lloyd’s statement.

If they meet Mr Lloyd again, the committee might like to ask him how hard he really tried to engage the Environment Agency on the subject of the Rent Charge when he was previously our MP, and just how the Sovereign Harbour SPD, which he promised would provide “cast-iron” guarantees for the provision of the missing social infrastructure before any further residential development, was made totally worthless by a very bizarrely negotiated S.106 agreement.

Ian Weeks


SHRA Response - SHRA will, when necessary, continue to ask difficult questions to those we engage with, but we see little benefit in revisiting past differences; instead we will try to move things forward in a positive manner in order to obtain results that will benefit the SHRA membership.

21 August 2017 - from North Harbour resident J Bradnam

For many months now mostly Friday and Saturday nights large gatherings of teenagers are causing distress to the residents of Sovereign harbour.

They gather along Macquarie Quay and onto the spur of land opposite Midway Quay.  Large amounts of alcohol are consumed there by under aged youngsters which in turn leads to unsociable behaviour. Vandalism, fights, very loud shouting and swearing all occur which goes on until early hours of the morning.

Occasionally police pay a visit and conviscate the alcohol but they simply produce more when the police leave.It is not wise for any resident to approach these youths as verbal abuse and threatening behaviour takes place.

We need a security patrol put into place to stop this unsociable behaviour taking place so we can enjoy living in such a beautiful place once again.

J. Bradnam

12 June 2017 - from North Harbour resident Keith Forbes (Keith is a SHRA committee member but writes here in a personal capacity).


I write in part-response to the interesting letter of 21 February 2017 (below) from North Harbour residents Ivor and Nina Rumsey about dogs on the beach and their sad summary that "most tragic of all is the collective resignation and acceptance that there is absolutely nothing that we or anyone else can do about this blight on our community."

In my view, the blight referred to and others below I now mention, can and should be dealt with by our Sovereign Ward Councillors. In vital respects our Sovereign Ward clearly does not get the same recognition from either the Eastbourne Borough Council or East Sussex County Council as other parts, not only of Eastbourne but also the rest of the UK, do.

Five examples highlight this:

First - no tourism accommodation. 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, and the busy “Waterfront” area of shops and restaurants and late-night bars. 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 important and strategic The Crumbles shopping centre that attracts customers from across town, Bexhill and beyond.

But Sovereign Harbour is not included in any of the present or planned Tourism Accommodation areas of Eastbourne. There, they are confined to the town or nearby on its western side, see . Unlike places with similar features in other parts of the world that offer tourism accommodation within their complexes, there are none in Sovereign Harbour, now one of Eastbourne's major tourism and visitor attractions.

Some local residents believe that both 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 more important than or at least as important as the building of a community centre.

Second – non-listed beaches. Although Sovereign Harbour is in this Eastbourne electoral ward for Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council for collection of Council Taxes, 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:

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 EBC Sovereign Ward area, they do not get the same level of supervision, oversight, dogs and leashes controls, usage rules and maintenance as Eastbourne’s other beaches. No other localities in the UK with beaches in their council tax area deliberately omit beaches from their council jurisdiction.

Third – flood defence charge. While some residents of the Sovereign 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 defence charge on top of their regular water charges, those in the Sovereign Harbour area are liable.

Only the owners or long-leaseholders of the 3,700+ homes in Sovereign Harbour, no one else in Eastbourne, have to pay, annually not just once, for the flood defence scheme that surrounds the harbour and Eastbourne. They are legally required to, in effect discriminated against, under an East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council-approved Deed and Grant of Covenant which the two Councils' Sovereign Ward Councillors have never challenged, as a condition of the sales contract that 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 over 10,000 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.

Fourth – bland planting. Sovereign Harbour public roads, in an otherwise very pleasant area, have a unique negative distinction of being completely devoid of any council-provided tree-lined pavements. The main thoroughfares of Atlantic Drive and Pacific Drive 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 bland and flora-deficient military bases or some residential areas immediately adjacent to prisons. In all other nice neighbourhoods 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.

Fifth – high council tax. In addition to the above four disadvantages, Sovereign Harbour residents must endure, they also pay overall the highest council taxes in Eastbourne, far more than some properties worth considerably more in market price but with lower Council Tax bands. It is manifestly unjust that for a small two-bedroom apartment on the beachside that some of us have we have to pay council taxes not only much more than many bigger properties with a higher market value locally, but nearly twice as much as huge London properties in Band H worth millions, with rooms galore.

If you feel as I do, that ALL these five significant blights on our community should be corrected by our County and Borough councils to right these wrongs so as to give our Sovereign Ward parity with other Eastbourne and further-afield areas, I urge you to contact the following:

Councillor David Elkin, Conservative, East Sussex County Council (ESCC). Phone: 01323 417871. Email:

Councillor Penny di Cara, Conservative, Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). Phone 01323 479031. Email:

Councillor Gordon Jenkins, Conservative, Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). Phone 07771 760159, Email:

Councillor Paul Metcalfe Conservative, Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). Phone 0784 1915274. Email:

Keith Forbes, resident, Sovereign Harbour North.
21 February 2017 - to SHRA from North Harbour residents, Ivor and Nina Rumsey

How gratifying to see the welfare of dogs being taken into account in the recent Waterlines articlearding reg palm oil deposits on Sovereign Harbour beach and the potential harm it can do to them. What a shame that the human species (especially the younger ones) do not attract the same level of concern to rid ourselves from deposits of the dog variety!

Amongst the usual multitude of dogs that frequent our beach everyday are two people with 10, yes 10 dogs between them, with most of them off the lead. I know the majority of dog walkers pick it up, but there is a sizable minority who don't, especially when off the lead, with their owners blissfully unaware of what their dogs are doing.

If all dogs were kept on a lead whilst on the beach, I am convinced this would dramatically reduce the problem. I know this is unenforceable, but even if only a few comply, it would be a step in the right direction. 

I'm sure that most dog owners would say that if we don't like over looking a beach used as a dog toilet and clearing up other person's dog poo, we should shut up and move. Perhaps they are right, as the problem is getting progressively worse as each year passes (notices and extra poo bins make little or no difference).

Most tragic of all, is the collective resignation and acceptance that there is absolutely nothing that we, nor anyone else, can do about this blight on our community.

Ivor and Nina Rumsey

28 October 2016 - to SHRA from South Harbour resident, Edward Maher

I am writing to you in response to the recently circulated parking restriction proposals with regards to Martinique Way in the South Harbour. Plan number EB 16 052

I am, along with the ACTUAL residents of Martinique Way, disgusted and outraged that once again our standards of living and needs are being totally overlooked. The proposal to remove all but a few feet of parking space outside our homes is outrageous.

As I look outside my home at this moment I see and count 12 cars belonging to RESIDENTS which are parked legally outside our own homes. This proposal would deny us any parking or access and leaves enough parking for possibly half the cars here at this moment. In the proposal outline it states that these proposals are in consultation with and at the behest of residents and business’ requests??

There are NO businesses in the proposed restricted area and NO LOCAL RESIDENTS have requested these restrictions which are ludicrous to say the least. I have, along with other residents of Martinique Way voiced my objections at the website and via email and wish this ‘Residents’ association to also voice its objections in line with the affected residents views.

Tens of thousands of pounds have already been taken from property values in this area with the planning ‘sell-out’ and building works now taking place. I refuse to now lose my ability to park my taxed and registered vehicles at my home address.

I am disgusted with any support for this pointless exercise and question the motives of anyone supporting these proposals.

Edward Maher

Archived letters - 2015-2011 subjects - cycling, Harbour Development, dogs, litter.
Archived letters - 2010 subjects include housing development, LDF.
Archived letters - 2009-2010 -Subjects include gritting, surface water, Harbour heroes.