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• Opinions expressed are those of the letter or article writer. SHRA accepts no responsibility for them and they may not reflect the opinions or policy of SHRA.

Note: Generally, all correspondence received by SHRA is treated as confidential and will not be published on the web site nor in Waterlines unless your permission to do so is clearly indicated. Please use the following email address to send in letters you wish to have published on the SHRA website and indicate that they are for publication. For general correspondence and enquiries please see our contacts page.

Letters & Submissions - Opinions expressed are those of the letter or article writer.

15 Feb 2019 - Letter from North Harbour Member Keith Forbes about the Cycling Strategy.

Dear Sir,

I write in response to your statement you are not disposed to publish any more letters on the topic of cycling following Rick Runall’s latest letter of 12 February.

That comment really concerned me. I assume you said it as webmaster of the SHRA. If so, I think both you and the SHRA are wrong. If the SHRA is truly a Sovereign Harbour Residents Association it should be acting as such to represent the interests of residents. To me, that means both allowing more residents to express their views and taking effective appropriate action to ensure local and other relevant authorities and entities receive those views.

These are what residents associations elsewhere do. But it seems our SHRA merely wants yet again to take a back seat instead of being concerned about, getting involved with and being a principal in resolving those residents concerns.

I welcomed those letters from Rick Runalls and others. But in my view none of those published to date have mentioned specific factors I state below which I believe are not only hugely relevant but overriding. The cycle routes in Sovereign Harbour are clearly defined as merely the shared pavement areas of Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. There is no cycle route along any of the walkways of any of the Sovereign Harbours or beachfront areas and their use by cyclists whether considerate or not, is clearly a scourge to many Harbour residents.

I am one of those who believes that for the 2019 Annual Estate Rentcharge we alone in the entirely world of all harbours in the UK, Europe and rest of the world have to pay, we should be entitled to the privacy normally given in every other estate except this one, not seeing any non resident members of the public at any time either walking or cycling using the paths and walkways residents alone have to pay for.

If our Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council councillors want to bow to the wishes of the cycling organisations and have everywhere in the Sovereign Harbour area open to the general public and cyclists, then surely they first have a pressing prior duty to see to it, for the benefit of and to protect the interests of their constituents, that our hated Annual Estate Rentcharge is first revoked. Can they please confirm that in the meantime they will not be allowing cyclists on the beachfronts of North Harbour and South Harbour or any of the inner harbours walkways, and will put up signs to cyclists.

Keith A Forbes

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SHRA Response. We've already published a number of letters on the matter of shared space, which has not yet even been proposed. Keith's idea of shutting off all the walkways to only residents would probably require some sort of policing, gating, passes or access codes that would only lead to an increase in the rentcharge. It could also possibly put an end to EBC weeding and dog poo services - tasks that would then have to be privately contacted and paid for, also increasing the rentcharge.

No more letters about the cycle strategy will be published until there are firm proposals to discuss. We will pass on to Rick any further comments about his article of 25th Jan (below).

12 Feb 2019 - Letter from South Harbour member Rick Runalls in response to letter from Alison Attwood on Safe Cycling of 01 Feb (below)

I was interested to read the recent letter from Alison Attwood in response to my request for opinions on the issue of using promenades on Sovereign Harbour as ‘shared space’. I note her opinion that shared space is welcome.

I think there are some misleading observations that are worth clarifying.

Firstly, that I speak for SHRA. Not so, I’m not on the committee of SHRA and haven’t been for two years. SHRA has not expressed an opinion, or any particular interest in this issue at present. The editor of the SHRA web site and Waterlines kindly agreed to publish my letters as a service to alert residents to an issue that could affect them all and provide a platform for various views, such as Alison’s, to be aired.

The term ‘shared use’ is quite specific and does not include any segregation such as lanes to separate the groups at risk. For example, the length of Eastbourne’s seafront that is ‘cycle friendly’ is not ‘shared space’. It has lanes and some if not all of the seafronts she mentions have similar safeguards.

The potential risk from shared space was amply illustrated by the cyclist who knocked down 4-year old Aaliyah Raj on Eastbourne seafront and ran over her on his bike before shouting abuse at her mother and riding off with his companion. This was a serious event, but anyone walking the seafront on busy days knows this it was preceded by many near misses and less serious events. Since the Councils apparently have no interest in putting safeguards, or enforcement in place and injuries caused by anti-social cyclists cannot be actioned because cyclists tend not to be insured, I am personally concerned that this behaviour doesn’t become a feature of the Harbour residential community. However, the whole point of my letters was to find out if that was, or wasn’t a view shared with other Harbour residents.

I note that Alison’s ‘heart sings’ when she sees families cycling on Harbour promenades, but having raised and enjoyed a family myself I would say that our happiness didn’t rely on cycling where we shouldn’t. Surely families still get enjoyment from walking together, enjoying the Harbour environment and the beach, while allowing others to safely do the same? The idea that one can cycle through pedestrians and safely ‘enjoy the views’ seems reckless at best.

Finally, I take exception to the inference that I cannot be relied upon to represent a balance of resident views at the forum I sit on, rather than just my own opinion. I’m at a loss! Why does she think I’ve gone to the trouble of writing in Waterlines, providing facts and inviting opinions. I could have saved a lot of effort by doing nothing. I can assure her that the cycling activists are not going to local communities to seek views - they are driving their own agenda, but perhaps she already knows that?

Rick Runalls

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SHRA Response. Thank you all for your thoughts on safe cycling. I am not inclined to publish any more on this subject until there are officially confirmed proposals to discuss.

08 Feb 2019 - Letter from South Harbour member Viv Hope responding to Rick Runall's article 0f 25 Jan (below)

I cannot walk at all far these days, but on a beautiful clear sunny Sunday a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would try to toddle from the lock to the Martello. My word, it was bedlam! Before I had walked not even a 100 yards, approaching me were a couple on cycles with their 2 children who were on scooters 4 abreast. Trying to undertake them on the inside dodging around pedestrians, a Lycra clad cyclist going so dangerously fast, he had to skid to a halt, grab a garden railing and lean on the wall otherwise he would have tipped over.

Alongside me were a couple with a baby in a Pram slowly strolling looking at the seals in fact around me, behind, in front, pedestrians with kids. Behind the oncoming barricade of the 4 abreast scooting and cycling family were people looking over the harbour railings, other walkers, joggers, people with dogs, 3 more cyclists, it was almost gridlocked, the whole part of this walkway was packed to the Martello Tower. Let’s be fair, what a lovely way to spend a Sunday, apart that is, from the danger of people with peddle power...

So, will someone please explain to me how can it be safe to cycle and scooter and self propel oneself on wheels, along any of the allocated pedestrianised walkways of the harbour, with absolutely no care or attention for people on 2 feet. Had any home owners who are lucky enough to have their houses accessing the path, have stepped out without looking, they would have been injured, It’s madness.

The cycle route is clearly signed around the harbour, cyclists are using walkways as a short cut, and mixed up with scootering kids, toddling kids, old hobbling people, pedestrians and dogs, it is just dangerous. Should someone stumble and fall, who is to blame for injuring a person by riding, bumping into or over him/her?

The cycling public must adhere to defined cycle routes, it’s clearly signposted around the harbour, there is actually a map online somewhere (perhaps SHRA can put this on their website)? Currently not good enough, therefore clearer signage for a Pedestrians only walkway to enable pedestrians to just stroll without fear, just has to be implemented. People banging on about cycling slowly and how lovely it is to do so, is just not helpful. Riding a cycle on pedestrianised pathways, is not and must not be permitted. Simple as that.

Viv Hope

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SHRA Response. The outer harbour prom is a popular area and does get a little busy occasionally. The SHRA website has always carried a map showing the cycle routes - you'll find it on the "Maps" page.

07 Feb 2019 - Letter from South Harbour member Marjorie Pratt responding to Rick Runall's article 0f 25 Jan (below)

Letter to the Webmaster at SHRA

Thank you for publishing Rick Runall’s informative article and letter about the consultation re; Cycling on the footpaths of The Harbour. Unlike Rick and Alison I am neither a keen walker nor a cyclist although I have given both a try... without enthusiasm. And I don’t give a hoot about the safety of cyclists when they persist in riding where they are not permitted.

Being lucky enough to live on the Outer Harbour I have seen it develop from a dirt track. A few years ago it was a safe walking space for pedestrians, disabled people, dog walkers, push chairs etc., but there has been a huge increase in the number of cyclists using the space for commuting and for their own pleasure. These days there are very few polite and considerate happy families to make Alison’s “heart sing”, instead there have been many close shaves and unpleasant confrontations with careless, usually uninsured cyclists.

Fuelled by lobbying from cycling organisations, cycling has steadily become the norm on our footpaths. The authorities refer to it as “shared space” but really it is an unequal division of the space available. Pedestrians cannot be sure of safe walking spaces and cyclists should not assume that their rides will not be impeded by unforeseen events or that they have the right of way. Sovereign Harbour already has a network of cycle paths and it is simply not fair that pedestrians should have to “move over” to accommodate more.

I can’t think of any other stretch of promenade in Eastbourne where access gates to properties open directly onto a footpath where dogs can run around off the leash or anywhere else where cyclists, residents and pets can collide before they have seen or heard each other approaching. There are hundreds of anecdotes of near misses but the dangers of mixed spaces are so blindingly obvious that promoting them on this stretch of the prom should not be considered outside of a hospital for the criminally insane.

Residents, concerned about their safety, have been in touch with the authorities and asked for “no cycling” signs to be displayed..... they would only be endorsing their own regulations. ..but the answer was that nothing will be done until there is serious accident.

Well, before there is a serious accident can we please show some common sense and stop wasting money on schemes which are derided in other parts of the country? If we do nothing the problems for pedestrians will only get worse as electric bikes and scooters become more popular and there is a continuous seafront path to tempt these unregulated riders. There may be other antisocial activities on the Harbour footpaths but there will be no going back to safe walking once these spaces have been stolen and turned into a velodrome.

Marjorie Pratt

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SHRA Response. We wait to see what any new strategy may be agreed and proposed and what areas of the Harbour it will cover.

06 Feb 2019 - Letter from South Harbour member Carole Penney responding to Rick Runall's article 0f 25 Jan (below)

Unfortunately this problem is growing and not in a divided share. The outer harbour, The Strand, walkway is an extremely well used walking area. At all times there are is mixture of people walking up to the sea front. There are a lot of disabled people brought to the see front to help with their disability both physically and mentally. There is no space for cyclists.

I have watched the way they treat pedestrians. I watched one man who was cycling very fast meet up with a family who had spread themselves across the walkway, the cyclist drove right up to them and had his bike almost in the small child's backside trying to get past. The people actually apologised to this rude man. I have many times asked the Lycra clad speed hogs to slow done and been told to fuck off or called various names. They show no consideration to pedestrians so they don't even think about shared space!!!! The cyclists are a mixture of young and old and most of them cycle very fast. What also needs to be thought about is our back gates open on to this walk way and we could easily walk out and be run over. They have no insurance so the injured person would be stuffed. I think you also need to consider all the tenants along this walk way.

Carole Penney

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Response from SHRA. Most cyclists are not as inconsiderate as those Carole mentions. It is like the dog-owners who don’t pick-up after their dog, a minority giving a bad name to the majority.

1 Feb 2019 - Letter From SHRA member Alison Attwood in response to article on Safe Cycling

Sirs, I read with interest Rick Runalls’ article in Waterlines, also published in full on the SHRA website letters page on 25 Jan [below], concerning the Council’s safe cycling & walking strategy. I thank Rick for drawing this to the attention of harbour residents.

Like Rick, I am also a keen walker and cyclist, but I have a different opinion on this as I am in favour of shared use of the harbour promenades. Shared use works in Shoreham, Brighton, Seaford, Bexhill-On-Sea, St Leonards and Hastings so why not Eastbourne? Although perhaps not officially permitted, the harbour walkways are in practice already shared by cyclists and pedestrians, and the vast majority respect each other and get along fine. My heart sings when I see families with young children cycling along and enjoying the harbour; if only they could also enjoy the whole of Eastbourne’s seafront!

I appreciate Rick’s article outlines his personal opinion, but I wish Waterlines had covered this issue more objectively and not just published one article from one perspective. I hope this letter goes some way to presenting an alternative view.

Rick says he sits on the local forum and welcomes feedback via SHRA. I would like to be assured that, if Rick speaks for SHRA, he will represent all harbour residents’ views and not just those that support his own personal position.

Kind regards

Alison Attwood
North Harbour Resident

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Response from SHRA. SHRA will objectively cover this issue when we know what is proposed, and we won't know that until after the strategy document is agreed and published. Rick is writing in a personal capacity, and expressing his personal views; he does not represent SHRA on any forum. We are happy to publish alternative views.

1 Feb 2019 - Letter From SHRA member Rick Runalls

Why Shouldn’t Cycling Rights be Extended to All Harbour Promenades?

I have been contacted by some residents following my letter [below], recently published in ‘Waterlines’. Their interest centres on why advocates of cycling think their rights override the interests of pedestrians on promenades established for pedestrian use?

To get a feel for what has been going on a little background is useful. After Sovereign Harbour Residents Association (SHRA) campaigned over the years to restrict the excesses of developers, achieve the facilities needed by the harbour community and generally to protect it, it was agreed that a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) would be produced. SHRA contributed to this and an agreed position was struck with the Borough and County Councils. Amongst other things the SPD specified and protected the rights of pedestrians and cyclists by defining existing and proposed pedestrian and cycling routes. Nowhere did it propose shared use on Harbour Promenades. The SPD was formally adopted in February 2013 and ratified by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government shortly afterwards.

As I mentioned in my previous letter there are two principal advocates working with the County and Borough Councils to extend cycling provisions. The first of these is ‘Sustrans’ who run the focus group developing strategy and whose major interest is to extend the National Cycle Network.

The second advocate is ‘Bespoke’, who are a local pro-cycling organisation founded, in part by an Eastbourne councillor in June 2010. It has very few members, but a big advantage being that it is LibDem based and consequently has the ear of EBC. Later that year the leader of the Council promised cycling along Eastbourne’s seafront to extend the existing cycle path.

So, why should this be a problem for Sovereign Harbour?

EBC had a history of ignoring the needs of the Harbour as a residential community. To them it was a source of attraction and income, but little more than an extension to Eastbourne’s promenade. As a consequence, Bespoke’s ambitions have been supported by EBC while the SPD, which was to provide protection for the Harbour, is being ignored.

It must be stressed that unlike the rest of Eastbourne’s seafront Sovereign Harbour is a residential community with many properties relying on access directly to the promenade. SHRA wrote to the CEO of ESCC in 2015, but ESCC was unwilling to take up the Harbour’s cause. A Freedom of Information Request was made by SHRA to have sight of the risk assessments that should underpin changes to promenade use, but were told that none have ever been carried out by EBC, or ESCC.

It seems beyond belief that the Councils are washing their hands of issues so important to our community and instead giving priority to a small group of activists, however this is the situation in which we find ourselves. It underlines why it is so important for residents to take part in the consultation on the walking and cycling strategy when it is published.

The Chairman of ‘Bespoke’ recently wrote to me to explain where, in his view cyclist rights come from and his position with respect to the Harbour. This was as follows:

‘Use of the areas that have been adopted as public highway is ultimately controlled by the relevant legislation. The areas in question were adopted with full highway rights. This essentially means that, if the highway is built to a standard and of a character that it can accommodate cycles, cyclists will be able to use the route. Use of the highway is controlled by the Highways Act 1835 and in this case Section 72, which is still in force, is the relevant part. This creates an offence for cyclists to ride on footways (i.e. a path at the side of the carriageway), but there is no offence caused by cyclists riding along a footpath (i.e. a path not at the side of the carriageway). Cyclists cannot therefore be prosecuted for riding on footpaths away from roads.’

I realise his apparent enthusiasm to put cyclists interests first, but found his argument unconvincing, as explained in my reply on behalf of ‘Afoot’, an organisation seeking recognition of pedestrian rights.

‘The main point you appear to be making is that because various routes on the Harbour have been adopted as ‘Highway’ and the Highways Act of 1835 does not create an automatic offence if a cycle is ridden along a footpath not at the side of a carriageway, it’s OK to cycle along Harbour promenades. I have problems with this.

Now I do appreciate that the content of statute is a serious business, but even so its interpretation and relevance goes beyond the words. In 1835 the modern bicycle didn’t exist and wouldn’t for over 30 years, Cars were 60 years away and roads were roughly metalled, if at all. As a consequence I think that most people would agree that context is a major issue. In reality I would expect factors such as technology, environment and above all safety of the groups at risk to predominate in determining the most appropriate outcome. In terms of enforceability the Council can enact bye-laws and apply PSPO’s to restrict access and use of pathways and promenades on the harbour, should they so wish. In fact they have already used their powers in respect of dog control on some Harbour promenades.

It is apparent that you place significance on the fact that the Council has adopted Harbour routes as ‘Highways’ and consequently this underwrites the argument that cyclists have rights to pedestrian promenades. I of course recognise that the Council has adopted certain routes as Highways, but I don’t accept the consequence that has been assumed. In law, what constitutes a ‘highway’ is only loosely defined and describes it as any public road, track or path. I would argue that this generalisation is not a basis for inferring automatic rights for bicycles, or any other vehicles to use a route just because it has been adopted as ‘Highway’. This is apparent from actual examples such as the inclusion of stretches of path as ‘Highway’ that barely allow two pedestrians to pass each other, let alone cycles, or other vehicles.

I would expect that in making proposals to implement shared use schemes on Harbour promenades, for example, the Council will give prominence to factors such as:

• Risk from mixing pedestrians with vehicles moving 4 – 5 times faster

• Risk from bicycles passing at speed through residential areas with access gates opening directly onto promenades.

• Increasing risk to pedestrians and cyclists when there is no need, since adequate cycle ways and ‘traffic calmed’ roads already exist on the Harbour.

As a final point your views, which appear to reflect Bespoke’s map on the internet seem to promote an attitude on the part of cyclists that they have a right to use promenades because, in law cycling is not an offence. I find this disappointing since it circumvents a consultative process and is essentially trying to implement shared use without recognising the needs of, or risks to pedestrians. It gives much credence to the view that cycling activists only care about cyclists to the exclusion of everyone else.

I believe you are of the view that the Council has always intended promenades to be ‘shared use’ on the Harbour. I’ve been actively involved with SHRA since 2005 and am familiar with original planning documents. I can confirm that I have never seen anything to suggest the general intention of shared use on promenades. If this was the case then it would already be implemented. The only shared use intended was on the existing cycle route that was planned and implemented. If you have seen other documents to the contrary then I would appreciate sight of them.

Afoot seeks a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists alike, but this isn’t achieved by forcing those groups together. Since cyclists have already been provided with a safe cycling environment on the Harbour, Afoot will continue to campaign for Harbour promenades to remain safe havens for pedestrians, as was originally intended at the Harbour’s inception.’

This essentially reflects the two points of view regarding the rights of cyclists on the Harbour promenades and will hopefully inform readers when considering the issue prior to the ‘Safe Walking and Cycling Strategy’ document being released for public consultation.

Rick Runalls 28.01.19

25 Jan 2019 - SHRA member Rick Runalls wants to alert residents to what he believes is a threat to safety on the Harbor Proms.

Threats to Safety on Sovereign Harbour Promenades

Residents may know that our councils have been discussing existing and future cycling and walking provisions across the county under the umbrella of the East Sussex Cycling and Walking Forum. Eastbourne’s particular intent is being developed by Eastbourne Borough Council, through a local forum, into a ‘Safe Walking and Cycling Strategy’ document. The development of this strategy is informed by views from groups representing both cyclist and pedestrian interests, although cycling groups heavily outweigh those representing pedestrian safety / interests. The forum is being managed by Sustrans, a UK charity that promotes cycling and whose flagship project is the National Cycle Network, which has created over 14,000 miles of signed cycle routes throughout the UK.

The next meeting of the local forum will take place in February and it is anticipated that the strategy document will be released to public consultation soon afterwards.

The purpose of this article is to alert residents to the proposals and in particular the way they are likely to affect cyclist and pedestrian safety on Sovereign Harbour, as well as to encourage residents to make their views known to EBC, whatever they may be.

Unlike some areas of Eastbourne the Harbour was developed with the needs of both cyclists and pedestrians in mind. We have cycle paths, which run through the Harbour and integrate with the wider cycle network and which also provide access to the Waterfront and locks, both attractions to visitors and residents alike. Additionally, for cyclists who do not wish to use those paths our ‘traffic calmed’ roads contribute to safe cycling in the Harbour environs. Safe pedestrian movement was provided by dedicated promenades and the combination of these separate facilities has resulted in a relaxing and safe environment for all users.

However, this environment is under threat from the proposals in the Council’s strategy document and if you enjoy the use of the Harbour promenades it is important that you recognise this and take a view one way or the other when considering the strategy.

The threat arises because the Council are focussed on demonstrating extended cycling provisions across the area with the minimum impact on Council expenditure. The way this will happen is by taking dedicated, safe pedestrian routes and re-categorising them as ‘shared space’, which allows cyclists to use them without restrictions. Sadly, even though this strategy has not yet been enacted there is an increasing tendency for some cyclists to adopt an aggressive attitude to exercise ‘their right of use’ to the detriment of pedestrians. There can be no doubt that mixing pedestrians walking at 3-4 miles an hour with cyclist moving 4 – 5 times faster will increase risk to both pedestrians and cyclists alike.

One might reasonably expect the Council’s ambitions for government grants and the wish to claim a few more miles as ‘National Cycle Network’ would take second place to the needs of the Harbour as a residential community and tourist facility, but there is no evidence of this so far.

I am both a cyclist and a walker, so I have an interest in both ‘camps’, but I see what is being proposed as a threat to the Harbour community that is being driven by short sighted dogma that has no interest in the Harbour environment.

I realise that not everyone will share this view, but I sit on the local forum and would appreciate your feedback through SHRA, so I can take it forward. Above all please look at the Strategy document when it is released (you will be notified through the SHRA web site) and make your views known to the Council, whatever they are.

R.H.Runalls 21.01.19

Comments for Rick on his letter may be emailed to SHRA at:

28/11/2018 - Letter from SHRA member Peter Clinch about flashing, non-xmas, balcony lights.

Dear SHRA,

My wife and I are owners and full time residents of an outer harbour, sea view property in Centauri Court, Midway Quay overlooking Macquarie Quay to the left.

One of the many benefits of living at Centauri Court are the tranquil night-time, sometimes moonlit, sea views with distant lights from passing vessels, buoys and the Sovereign Light Tower. Unfortunately this idyllic view is now routinely spoilt by the tasteless, bright flashing lights on the balcony of a 2nd floor property in Polaris House, Macquarie Quay. Grateful if you would have a look at the YouTube video

Please be advised of the following;

a) The flashing lights are not just ‘Christmas lights’ – they have been operating for many months.
b) At this time of the year they are continually flashing from about 4:30pm to 11:30pm.
c) Centauri Court properties have a clause in the lease ‘You must not shine any bright coloured lights outside the windows in case they affect navigation of boats and vessels approaching the outer harbour.’ Is there not a similar restrictive clause in all the harbour residential developments’ leases?
d) Macquarie Quay’s Property Management operatives: Victoria Quay Management Company Ltd (VQMC) and their Managing Agents ‘Sensible Property Management’ have been approached more than once about this situation. Their replies:

‘As the balconies are private property, VQMC have no jurisdiction to demand that the resident of the apartment turns the lights off.’

‘Whilst I’m sorry that you find the lights not to your liking, there is nothing in our lease that empowers me to act against the leaseholder in this respect.’

Grateful for your help to rectify this situation, which is annoying other residents of the outer-harbour. I can’t believe it would be tolerated in the ‘inner-harbour’ with its surrounding apartments, or in any other residential area in Eastbourne.

I will be sending a copy to Eastbourne Council to see if they are aware of the situation - hopefully they will help to take appropriate action to restore the evening tranquility to our much loved harbour.

Thank you for your anticipated help in this matter

Yours sincerely,

Peter Clinch, Centauri Court, Midway Quay.

SHRA response. SHRA will write to the management companies to support Peter's case. Of course, with Christmas approaching and Sovereign Shines being promoted (including by SHRA), other balconies are being decorated and the impact of these lights will be very much reduced for a while. It would be helpful to know if other residents are bothered by the lights flashing every evening out of the Christmas Season - please let us know.

14/09/2018 - Letter from SHRA member Keith Forbes about the rentcharge.

Dear Editor,

Collective enfranchisement and upwards investment hopes dashed by Annual Estate Rental charge

I write as one who has observed that efforts are now underway to get the ownership of at least one qualifying Sovereign Harbour building changed by collective enfranchisement if a majority of leaseholders are willing to see it through. If so, if cost-effective and with leases extended from the original 125 years or so to 999 years, to help improve investment market value.

But what I, and I am sure others, would also like to see, to give a balanced point of view, is what management companies and building freeholders think of this, and why, with any counter-proposals. It is such a shame that leaseholders associations concerned are partly to blame for this because they have not commented on this to their members with pros and cons to help them take a stand one way or another. They seem to want to hold just one meeting a year, possibly because many leaseholders are not occupying their premises year-round. It may also be one reason why, despite most flats being subject to the perfectly understandable requirement mentioned in their leases that short-term or holiday by-the-week-or-so rents are not allowed, this infringement goes on without any attempt by management companies to stop it. Also, some short-term or holiday renters bring dogs, also not allowed, resulting in wet floors of lifts and barking. Or they smoke pot, or complain about car parking, all offensive to occupants of neighbouring flats.

But the big stumbling block to full investment potential whether by collective enfranchisement or continuation of present leases of 125 years or less is that horrible and unique-to-Sovereign Harbour Annual Estate Rental Charge, principally as a flood defence charge and wrongly referred to as a Harbour Charge, that costs all freeholders and leaseholders an average of £265 in 2018. Until that is eliminated all freehold and leasehold units are severely hampered by this expensive covenant on present and future freeholders and leaseholders that has been proven to exist nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world even where there are similar harbours, beaches and littoral drifts.

What especially infuriates me and I know others too is that in their most recent pamphlet, Sovereign Ward Conservative Councillors Penny di Cara, David Elkin, Gordon Jenkins, Paul Metcalfe, with Caroline Ansell and Robert Whippy, are all saying "Enough is Enough, Time for Action" about the stench coming from the Water Treatment Works. But they are not saying "Enough is Enough, Time for Action" about the inequity of the Estate Rental Charge that has gone on for far longer. Nor has this been mentioned in recent months by the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association.

The above need to be reminded that these injustices were legally created and/or continued when we had Labour Prime Ministers and that the present Conservative Government and Eastbourne Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament have done nothing to help right a massive wrong. If those mentioned by name above hope to be re-elected or elected they should work to right this wrong if they want the public to vote Conservative for them at the next general and county elections. It is going to become a major political issue. I am glad to hear it is now finally getting European Commission international news exposure, with the particularly unjust parts highlighted and offending public authorities, county council officials and other local entities mentioned by name.

Keith Forbes
San Diego Way.

SHRA response. Members will know that SHRA is committed to challenging the Rentcharge and, as we pointed out in our 2017/18 Committee Report, we are working on a strategy to do so. We hope members will understand why the full nature and details of our ongoing work are best kept under wraps for the present. Sovereign Harbour is not unique in having a harbour charge, but the flood defence element is very unusual.

06/06/2018 Letter from SHRA member J. Bradnam about black silt and bad odour.

Can anyone inform me why the outer harbour just outside the lock gates is covered in a black substance with a sewerage odour? This is clearly visible at low tide giving the trapped water a black appearance.

There has been a lot of work taking place at the moment close to the lock and l wonder if something has been discharged into the water.

Yours faithfully
Mr J Bradnam
Resident of Orvis CT.

SHRA response. I thought the black silt may be because of the recent dredging operations disturbing sediment, but see response from Premier below. There has also been an outbreak of 'May bloom' - an algae bloom that is caused by increased sunlight and water temperature. This causes a massive growth in plankton, which is seen as a beige/brown scum-like substance on the water.

I guess that either of these may produce the odour. I’ve recently noticed a stronger than usual seaweedy smell. We’ve had no reports of any discharge, but I’ll copy your letter to Premiere Marinas and ask them to comment.

Comments from Premier Marinas. The blackening of the mud in the concentrated area of the outer harbour outside Orvis, Bimini and Centauri is unrelated to recent dredging activities. I say that because the area on the other side (Barbuda Quay, Anguilla etc.) remains brown, not black as visible at low tide.

The most likely cause seems to be May Rot. We have seen an increased amount of foam in the locks, which is a usual tell tail of an algae bloom. As that dies off, it gives off the rotting plant smell. Plenty of warm days in the recent past, with low wave energy in that area will see the algae build up in the quieter areas of the outer harbour. Add to that the drying out at low tide, and you get the smell once the water recedes. The seals seem quite happy though.

Certainly no discharge from recent works. The works by the locks involve block paving removal, nothing to discharge. Plus, the various environmental controls and restrictions which preclude such a thing.

13/04/2018. SHRA member Mike Grant writes to SHRA about the litter problem we featured in Waterlines.

Dear Sir or Madam

Having read the April edition of Waterlines about litter in the retail park, I found Neighbourhood First's reasons or excuses to effectively kick the can down the road to be somewhat laughable. Spurious health and safety concerns were raised including possible hazard waste, rats and a brilliant get out, unknown hazards. Precisely what these might be makes the mind boggle. Disused mine shafts, live ordnance or adders perhaps.

I can assure Neighbourhood Watch's inspector from personal experience that these risks are somewhat over-stated. About three or four years ago a large group of residents came together and undertook a major litter pick in the Harbour. I was part of a team that tackled the rubbish in the bushes and verges opposite the car wash and the nearby mini roundabout. I can confirm we all survived the ordeal. As far as I am aware no-one came to any harm.

As correctly identified in the article much of the litter is wind-blown from the retail park consisting of paper, food wrappings, plastic bags and bottles and hardly hazardous. I encountered no rats during my intrepid ventures into the bush but if there are a colony in residence now all the more reason to tackle the food waste that is attracting them. Whilst avoiding walking in the road makes sense there are areas within the bushes or grass verges far enough away from traffic to allow safe litter picking. For sections close to the roads I would have thought a temporary lane closure very early on a spring or summer morning would inconvenience very few early shoppers with so little traffic about.

If the land is privately owned surely there are records to identify who the owners are. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005 permits litter authorities such as Eastbourne Borough Council to issue Litter Clearing Notices requiring the occupier (or if the land is unoccupied, the owner) of land which is defaced by litter or refuse to clear it, and, where appropriate, take steps to prevent it from becoming heavily defaced again. Neighbourhood First have no reason not to take action whether to clean up themselves or get the owners to do so. The litter problem in the Harbour is not new. It has been there for years. It contributes to the run down tired appearance of the retail park. The status quo is unacceptable if the Harbour is to improve and be a sustainable and pleasant place to live.

Yours faithfully
Mike Grant

SHRA response. Thanks for sharing your view, Mike. We agree that the litter problem needs tackling and we continue to engage with Neighbourhood First about it. The issues pointed out by Neighbourhood First are real and cannot just be ignored. Land ownership records indicate multiple owners and precise boundary issues are to be resolved. Premier’s recent purchase of The Waterfront has further complicated investigations. We know that Neighbourhood First are aware of the powers they have under the various Acts because they have mentioned them to us as possible future steps. We are continuing to press for a clean-up of the areas.

03/02/2018. South Habour resident Bob Greenhead has written to SHRA about the bus lane.

Bus Route. I have lived here for seven years and found the present system quite adequate. I am a frequent user. I seem to remember the last committee stating that people in the north may wish to visit the south and vice versa. Several points spring to mind.

• The herb gardens along side of the cinema will have to be decimated at some point to allow the buses to cut through.
• This I believe will cause a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists on the national cycle route.
• The buses stop at about seven in the evening so any visit can only be made during the day
• It would not be long before the route is open to all, causing a “rat run’. A danger, especially past the school in Atlantic Drive.

My solution would be to combine the two routes. This would provide a half hourly service. Most of the residents of the harbour that I have spoken to agree. This would mean each bus driving up Atlantic Drive and then Pacific Drive. I realise this may add a small amount of time to the bus route but I am sure bus companies solve such problems all of the time.

This would also allow people to visit the Crumbles and The Waterfront in an easier and more regular fashion.

Bob Greenhead JP

SHRA Response. What do other readers think about this? In the past, bus companies have said that a bus lane would allow them to run a viable, half-hourly, cross-harbour service serving both North and South Harbours rather than the current hourly service to each single destination.

However, it should be noted that on Sunday and Bank Holidays some buses do serve both the North and South destinations on a single route via the normal roads as Bob suggests. Buses starting at Pacific Drive travel to Langney Point then whizz up and down Atlantic Drive before heading into town. This adds e.g. only ten minutes or so to the journey time for passengers travelling into town from the North Harbour.

04/01/2018. South Habour resident Bob Greenhead has written to all our local councillors about the collection of rubbish from South Harbour residencies over the xmas and new year period. His letter is shown below.

Good morning Councillor,

As you are probably aware, the residents of Sovereign Harbour [South] have a Tuesday rubbish collection. This has meant that the normal rubbish was not collected for two weeks. On telephoning the Council we were told to put rubbish into bags and that the bags would be collected along with the bins. Yesterday the bins were collected but the bags were left behind.

In the case of recycling rubbish, we are left without a collection for four weeks. The bins are now full and we have to wait a further two weeks for a collection. Next year Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday and it will happen again.

Considering that somewhere in the Borough, this happens every year, surely a plan should be put in place. Our Council Expert on waste is Cameron Morley. Sadly he is on holiday until the 8th January, the very day before the next collection of recycling waste. Best time to go on holiday…. the busiest time of the year.I have sent this email to all four Councillors in the hope that they will take up the challenge and stop this non collection of waste by Kiers.

Bob Greenhead JP
SHRA Response. Having made some enquiries about this, it seem that the North Harbour, whose bin-day is on a Monday, received a special rubbish and recycling collection on Saturday 30th Dec to compensate for the loss of a collection on Christmas Day. South Harbour's collection day is Tuesday and the last recycling collection was Tue 12 Dec. The collection for both rubbish and recycling due on Boxing Day was, understandably, cancelled, but unlike North Harbour, no alterative arrangement was made. The next recycling collection for South Harbour is 9th Jan nearly a month after their previous one, and our recycle bins are overflowing.

Update: email of 6th Jan to SHRA from Cllr Paul Metcalfe MBE, Sovereign Ward

On receipt of an email from a resident of West Harbour with regards the bin collections over the Christmas period I immediately forwarded it on to the Chief Executive of EBC and informed the resident of this.

I have receive an acknowledgement and thank you from the CE. He replied that he would look into the matter and update me asap. I am looking forward to the update and will share with the resident accordingly.

You are welcome to publish this email along with the SHRA members' letter should you wish to do so.

Kindest regards


Cllr Paul Metcalfe MBE
Sovereign Ward

Archived letters - 2016-2017 subjects - rentcharge, community council, dogs, litter.
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.