The Biggest Rip Off???

An unusual private estate which illustrates some key points that we have been making for the past 5 years!

Sadly, we have become accustomed to green open spaces within estates and even adjacent country parks being funded solely by the estate dwellers, but this is a unique variation on the theme! The scale of the unfairness is so great it is almost unbelievable and little wonder estate agents are so coy about it.

Sovereign Harbour has 3400 homes who also pay for flood defences which protect the whole surrounding area. Our understanding is that they are the only contributors to this maintenance cost, together with harbour maintenance costs without exclusive use. One resident feels so strongly he has published a page on his web site dedicated to the set up there. Click on Image above to visit Sovereign Harbour site.

He says: –

The Environment Agency created a sea flood defence scheme which adds to the rent charge.

Nowhere else in coastal Britain, Europe or other coastal part of the world does this unique see flood defence scheme occur at cost to a small minority but not all local residents in the flood zone concerned. 

Not even where there are flood zones, harbours and their coastal residential development, and littoral drifts or the very similar Longshore Drift This has been thoroughly researched. The above is deliberately omitted by the two local councils concerned, the Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council. They have flood zones in other parts of their precincts but levy no such similar charge, In no other shingle or pebble beach, harbour and marina area in the UK or Europe or the world do local authorities ask or make their residents pay for similar flood defences that have to be borne alone by any group of local residents.

Sovereign Harbour properties, some of which are shown in photo below – LEFT – pay for coastal flood defence but Pevensey Bay properties – RIGHT  – in the same sea defence flood zone,  much closer to the ocean as can be clearly seen and much more subject to sea flooding – all the way to Bexhill-on-Sea – do not. 

Sovereign Harbour Sea Defences

As so often, the full implication of estate rent charges are omitted or glossed over at the point of sale. Because the residents pay for everyone to benefit, there is resentment and a loss of community cohesion.

It is also clear from the narrative that US style private estate asset creation has gone on here, but without the genuine privacy/exclusivity for residents who pay! The marina area is now owned by a subsidiary of the the private charity The Wellcome Trust, the private company, Premier Marinas. HorNets have been warning against this trend towards privatisation and asset creation for at least four years now.

What we love to call “pseudo charitable” trusts have been involved, but it is plain to see that no charity is involved here for the residents!

Sovereign Harbour is a wonderful example of how antiquated UK Property Laws have been used to create an asset for private investors and the local community with all the maintenance expenses picked up (without limit of liability) in perpetuity by the home buyers.


2 Replies to “The Biggest Rip Off???”

    1. Not sure quite what you mean here – we have other articles on this site about rent charges and lender’s dislike of them. If there is a rent charge, they will now often ask for a Deed of variation for the management company/rent charge owner to promise not to use the draconian remedies in section 121 of the Law of property Act 1925. This is where a lease can be taken out on a freehold property to recover the debt of unpaid rent charge. At the very extreme the property can be taken into possession. This is however, not new but mortgage companies only really latched on to it in 2019.

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