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" View from the air of Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne/

Development Sites

Eleven undeveloped parcels of land remained at Sovereign Harbour following completion of the main stages of residential construction in 2009.  These sites were untouched until 2016, partly as a result of the developer's plans for some of them being opposed and refused consent, however, three of the sites have now been developed with residential properties.  This page should be read in conjunction with the Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SHSPD) published in 2013.

Site One - Land at Langney Point "White Point"

2.1 hectares originally owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. Dominated by Martello Tower 66, close to the beach and the seaward entrance to the harbor.

Initially, the site was earmarked for an hotel. Later, the SHSPD identified this site to be ideal for a sea front leisure area and the seaward two thirds of the site were allocated for this purpose. In order to fund this, it was agreed that further residential dwellings could be built, ten houses and 62 apartments, in two blocks.

One condition of the consent was that an uninterrupted view of the Martello Tower must be maintained.  Another was that access to the beach must be maintained for Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd. contractors removing shingle built up behind the harbour arm and transporting it to the North Harbour beach.  Construction started in 2017 with the houses being built first that were completed in 2019. Work on the proprosed two blocks of flats never started.

In November 2023, Untold Living announced plans for a retirement community on the vacant land that was going to contain the blocks of flats. The proposed scheme would provide 137 flats for residential accommodation in buildings ranging from 4 to 6 storeys with communal and community options on the ground floors. Formal planning application was made in January 2024. The application was refused in March 2024.  More info on our Site 1 webpage here...

Site Two - Berth holders car park at end of Atlantic Drive

0.2 hectares owned by Premier Marinas. Opposite Daytona Quay, containing a fifty-five bay car park.  Despite being rarely used, in the past SHL insisted that provision of this parking is a contractual obligation and change of use for this site is impossible.  However, this did not prevent it from trying to get consent for residential development on the site some years ago.  There are no current plans for development.

Site Three - Fishing fleet area behind the 'Harvester'

0.3 hectares previously owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd, now owned by Premier Marinas.  Currently used by the local fishing fleet to store equipment and land their catch.  A planning application for residential development was refused.

However, the Eastbourne Fishermen have put forward an exciting plan to develop the site as a "Fishingman's Quay" similar to the development in Hastings.  The plan includes a visitor centre, a retail outlet for the sale of fresh fish and storage facilities for fishing equipment. The first phase including the fish shop amd smokery opened in 2021.

This plan received planning consent in 2015 and revised plans were granted consent in January 2017. Funding, including grant funding, has now been obtained from vaious sources including the good old EU.  Phase 1 of this project is the construction of a two-storey building to fillet, store and sell fish, with further storage and offices on the upper floor.  The Phase 1 work begun in May 2019, but the start was delayed until June 2020 and completed in mid-2021. In late 2021 Quay Fisheries, a retail fishery and smoke-house, opened for business.  Phase 2 is under construction.

Site Four - Boat sales display area.

0.4 hectares. The curved section of land opposite The Waterfront entrance by the North Harbour Bridge. Previously owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd, now owned by Premier Marinas.  Currently used for the display of boats and for the urban beach sandpit.  It offers open views of the North Harbour.

This site was the subject of a planning application about fifteen years ago for high-rise residential development that would have closed off pedestrian access to the waterside and destroyed the public views of the North Harbour.  Although the application was refused, as with Site Three, there are still ambitions for further residential development.

The Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) identified this site to be ideal for an extension of the Waterfront leisure area.  Outline planning consent has been granted for additional restaurants with office accommodation above. There is also provision for a large area of public open space adjacent to the marina for use as a "Village Green". However, no firms development plans have been submitted.

In April 2018 ownership of the site changed hands when Premier Marinas brought it as part of their deal to purchase The Waterfront area following the collapse of Carilion. During the summer months, Premier uses part of the site as an entertainment area and an urban beach sandpit. Curently, part of the site is being used by the fishermen while Site Three is being developed.

Site Five - Old SHL temporary offices

0.1 hectares owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd (SHL). This small parcel of land was occupied by the long-disused SHL temporary offices which were finally demolished in 2015.  This site is adjacent to the Waterfront car park and shares a boundary with Site Six.

Because of the nature of waste buried beneath the site, construction of any structure above a single story would be difficult as it would require the sinking of piles that would breach the membrane containing the waste with possibly disastrous consequences for the water table.

Despite the above, this site was identified as the preferred site for the Sovereign Harbour Medical Centre! However, in 2007, SHL withdrew the land from sale and offered in its place a piece of land on Site Seven (a) for the Medical Centre (See below).

In 2013, the Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SHSPD) identified this site to be the ideal location for the long awaited Sovereign Harbour Community Centre.  At the public consultation on the SHL Master Plan outline planning application, a model of the proposed centre on this site was provided for approval. Residents were delighted with the design. 

Then in 2016, despite planning consent for the centre having been granted in 2015, the site was suddenly withdrawn by SHL as a survey had determined that there was indeed contamination and "a risk of unexploded ordnance" (despite our requests, no proof of this ordnance has been provided).  In late 2016 a corner of Site 6 was designated as the site for the Community Centre.

In April 2020, Premier submitted plans to extend The Waterfront car park to encompass much of site 5.

Site Six - Easter Island Place

3.2 hectares once owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. (part of Carillion), now owned by Premier Marinas. Previously known as “Commercial Site One”, this is the large parcel of land between Pevensey Bay Road and Harbour Quay at the entrance to the North Harbour.  Many will know it as the “B&Q” site following two unsuccessful planning applications to build a DIY Superstore on the land.  It was also used as a boat storage area.  The wooded area beside Pevensey Bay Road is a protected area.

The site was jointly acquired by Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County Councils on a 999 year lease to develop a business park.  In August 2015, the Sovereign Harbour Innovation Park (Pacific House) opened for business; a further four office buildings were planned for the site. In 2019 EBC's new Eastbourne Plan suggested that more offices were not needed or should be located in the town center to create a business 'hub. As a result, it has been proposed that the designation of Site 6 be changed to include B1 light industrial use.

In February 2017 a planning application was submitted for the construction of the Sovereign Harbour Community Centre on a corner of the plot beside the road leading in to the Retail Park.  Construction commenced in late 2017 with an expected completion date of June 2018.  After a year of snagging delays, the centre opened in late 2019.

In late 2019, in a consulatation on a new Local Plan for Eastbourne to cover the period from 2018 to 2038, EBC proposed a change of land use for Sites 6 and 7.  The change would allow Sites 6 and 7 to be used for light industry. SHRA responsed saying it would prefer the land remain designated for office development, or that it be used for leisure purposes or for housing. 

Shingle Bank

Adjacent to Site Six, "The Shingle Bank" was used to re-bury landfill refuse from other areas of the Sovereign Harbour development area and is venting methane gas. The waste is protected by membranes and covered by a “shingle mound”. There are no plans to develop this area, other than to create more paths for dog walking etc. Any development of this area would be prohibitively expensive and somewhat risky as who knows what might be exposed. This area was acquired by Premier Marinas in 2019 following the collapse of Carillion and is now identified by a low boundary fence. 

Site Seven A - Land alongside Pevensey Bay Road

2.05 hectares, owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd.  Previously part of the huge parcel of land known as “Commercial Site Two” (in total 4.2 hectares), between Pevensey Bay Road and Pacific Drive West that was also originally reserved as part of the Business Park development.

The land has never been seriously marketed for the purpose for which it was intended, although development funding should have been provided from the profits from the development of the Crumbles Retail Park.  SHL insists that development can only be funded by further residential development.

The 2013 Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) identified this site to be ideal for employment use, and in 2019, EBC's new Eastbourne Plan proposed that the designation of Site 6 should include B1 light industrial use.

Following the withdrawal of Site Five as the location for the Sovereign Harbour Medical Centre, the proposed site was moved to a corner of this site.  Construction began in January 2011 and the Harbour Medical Practice opened for business in December of that year. It is interesting to note that at the B&Q planning meeting Sovereign Harbour Ltd had stated that the land on Sites Six and Seven had "negative value", but it still charged the PCT £250,000 for the Medical Centre plot.

In September 2022 a joint development by Aldi, McCarthy Stone and LNT Care proposed an Aldi store and car park (these would be adjacent to the medical centre and we were told the store will be about the same size as the Aldi at Hampden Park), a 66 bed, three story, residential care home and a development of 57 retirement living units - the latter two within landscaped gardens. All three developments would be accessed from Pacific Drive.  Despite strong local opposition over traffic concerns, the formal planning application was approved in August 2023. See our Site 7 webpage...

Site Seven B- Land alongside Pevensey Bay Road

0.8 hectares, owned by JWS Homes Ltd. Also previously part of land known as “Commercial Site Two”.

The 2013 Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)  identified that this site should be reserved as public open space.

The S.106 agreement for Site Seven (c) requires the developer to landscape the area so that it is available for use by the time the development of that site is complete.  In 2019 plans for the open space were prepared. Landsacaping of the site began in January 2021, but was subsequently delayed by the pandemic. The park opened in 2022.

Site Seven C "Macaulay Place"

2.08 hectares, owned by JWS Homes Ltd. Previously part of land known as “Commercial Site Two”, and originally reserved as part of the Business Park development.

The Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) identified this site as the location for "Macaulay Place" a development of 37 four bedroom houses, and 15 five bedroom houses, 12 two bedroom apartments, 2 three bedroom apartments and 4 three bedroom maisonettes; a total of 70 homes.

The construction of these homes will fund the development of the public open space on Site Seven (b).  Construction began in early 2017 and will continue into 2021. Homes began to be occupied from 2019.  

Site Eight - Far end of North Harbour "Port Moresby Place"

0.3 hectares owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. A narrow strip of land at the far end of the North Harbour bordering Pacific Drive.  Consent was given for this land to be used as a berth-holder car park, and purchasers of adjacent properties were given assurances that there would be no residential development on this plot. However, the car park was never constructed and Sovereign Harbour Ltd attempted to persuade the Borough Council that it should be used for high-density, high-rise residential development.

The Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) identified this site to be ideal for a marina-side public open space.  It was agreed that this would be funded by the construction of eight high quality homes, for which planning consent was granted under the name Port Moresby Place

The plan required 50% of the site, the land closest to the marina, to be paved and landscaped for public use.  A condition of the consent was that the public open space was to be completed before two thirds of the homes are sold.  This conditions was not met and in July 2018 EBC enforced the condition resulting in the sale of the fianl property being put on hold for four months.  With the open space almost complete the sale was eventually allowed to go through in December 2018. The open space was finally completed in late 2019.

Site Nine - The Martello Tower No. 64 on North Harbour beach

The Martello Tower is a Grade II Listed Building and a Scheduled Monument.  It is owned by Sovereign Harbour Ltd. who have retained access to the building from Caroline Way.  The building is currently in a poor state of repair and is on the buildings at risk register.  The Tower could in principle be converted into an alternative use, and because it is important to secure the long term repair and maintenance of the Tower, conversion could be supported subject to discussion with English Heritage.  However, given its remote and exposed location, and due to its poor state of repair and the associated costs of refurbishment, conversion is considered unlikely.

Site Ten - Outer Harbour peninsula

1.5 hectares owned by Premier Marinas.  Previously used by the local fishing boat operators to store equipment, in about 2008 it was purchased from Sovereign Harbour Ltd by Premier Marinas and was cleared. 

Premier has not published any plans for the site.  Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd use part of the site for stockpiling shingle.

Site Eleven - Land at the end of Key West adjacent to the locks

0.1 hectares owned by Premier Marinas. As with Site Ten, it was sold by Sovereign Harbour Ltd to Premier Marinas. It has always been the ambition of the Borough Council that this area should be developed as a visitor attraction, and this is shared by residents.

Despite receiving substantial income from residents through the “Marina Rentcharge”, Premier Marinas has indicated in the past that it was not prepared to spend money on improving this area.  Premier uses as an excuse the fact that residents successfully contested a previous planning application to develop the site*.

However, that application was submitted by Sovereign Harbour Ltd well before the sale to Premier and Premier purchased it in the knowledge that the site was designated as a tourist destination.

In early 2019 SHRA asked Premier to look into making access across this area more wheel-chair and pram friendly, and Premier agreed to to do so, but haven't.

* Residents opposed the Sovereign Harbour Ltd application (EBC Planning Application 050728 2005), because it included a “turning circle” for the Dotto train, which would have run along the outer harbour promenade, close to the rear exits of a number of properties.  Because of these exits, the steps boardering the prom and the number of pedestrians who use the promenade, many of them children, this would have been a safety risk.