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Opinions expressed are those of the letter writer.

10 March 2024 - Letter from North Harbour member Keith Forbes about the Site 1 planning application and the beach work charges. 

Dear SHRA,
I note with interest that on 18 March the Planning Committee of the Eastbourne Borough Council will meet to decide whether Untold Living’s proposed new retirement community plan for Martinique Way should go ahead. 349 objections and only 12 in favour have been recorded, and it is probable that of those 349 objections the vast majority are from Sovereign Harbour residents.

With Councillor Nick Ansell on that Planning Committee and his wife Caroline Ansell our MP I hope he will be one of those also objecting decisively. I am sure other objecting Sovereign Harbour residents feel the same way as I do about both this and related other matters as I show below. With the next general election only months away this matter will have special relevance here for people like me. We want, need and deserve total equality with all other Eastbourne and East Sussex residents. We do not have that nowadays and have not had it for many years.

As we in Sovereign Harbour do not live in any of the other Eastbourne ward areas but pay for all the many expensive Eastbourne Borough Council projects and expenses anyway in all the other wards in our council taxes then surely our harbour charges and sea defences costs, which benefit Eastbourne and East Sussex hugely in the same way as all other town attractions, should be paid for by Eastbourne Borough Council, not by Sovereign Harbour residents alone.

As a retired journalist I know for a fact that in all other harbour areas in the entire U.K. the local authority, not local residents individually, pay all harbour and sea defence charges. It is wrong, unjust, unfair and internationally reportable that only the 3100 or so of us who are freeholders and leaseholders in Sovereign Harbour should have to do so here while the 2.8 million visitors a year to Sovereign Harbour and their many dogs do not pay a penny. 
Keith A Forbes

Response from SHRA
Thanks for your comments Keith, we will keep members updated over the Site One planning application that SHRA is opposed to in its present form.
On the flood defence charges, it needs to be remembered that Sovereign Harbour is not a natural harbour. The digging of its entrance channel stopped the natural drift of shingle along the coast that had previously protected the north harbour beaches and beyond. The only work Sovereign Harbour residents pay for is the extra flood defence work made necessay by that breach in the natural drift.

08 April 2023 - Letter from North Harbour member Keith Forbes about the Site 7 planning application 

Dear SHRA,
I write as one full-time resident of Sovereign Harbour.  I have read all 44 pages of the latest Supplementary Notes submission by Planning Potential on behalf of Aldi. Nothing whatsoever in it has made me change my mind.

In my view, building an Aldi here and especially via Pacific Drive instead of via the A259 will be a huge liability, not an asset, for the residents of Sovereign Harbour North.  Aldi already has a presence in Eastbourne in ready reach. What irks me is the contention in the document that it is not in competition with Asda or any other retail establishment in the local area.  That is simply not true.

Of particular concern to me too is why this relates only to Aldi.  Not mentioned at all of late are the applications for the LNT Care Home and McCarthy Stone Retirement Living.  Could this be because they have already been secretly approved despite the clamour from so many who live on or via Pacific Drive which is already heavily trafficked?  If LNT and McCarthy Stone, like all the other leasehold units in Sovereign Harbour, allow their residents only one car parking space per flat instead of the one parking space per bedroom now the norm in Canada, the USA, European Union etc, then the left side of Pacific Avenue is going to become completely choked with cars belonging to their staff, residents and the latter’s visitors.  And it will become a massive 24 hour a day problem too for all the residents living on the right side of Pacific Avenue. 

Sovereign Harbour residents in general and potential LNT Care Home and McCarthy Stone residents in particular should make a point of reading "The retirement home scandal that wipes out life savings" at  [Note: this article dates from November 2021. Ed].

Also, I have to mention also that the word “hideous” is what the Sovereign Harbour visitors I meet and Eastbourne taxi drivers bringing them in say about the houses and flats built or being built on the left side of the second roundabout on Pacific Drive after you enter it.
Keith A Forbes

Response from SHRA
Thanks Keith, the points you raise about Aldi's latest submission are echoed in SHRA's second reponse to the EBC planners.  This will be published on the EBC website and here soon.
Not everyone dislikes the new houses as is clear by the way they have been snapped up.

13 June 2022 - Further letter from North Harbour member, Jan Weeks, in response to previous exchange below on political leafleting.

To Chair, SHRA.

Susan, I’m sorry you find my ‘implication’ regarding member/members of the committee being affiliated to the Green Part ‘inappropriate’. And I find your tone offensive.

I was merely pointing out that a damaging article had been written regarding a ward councillor who is also a SHRA committee member. However, as the SHRA had reserved the hall it was your responsibility to make sure that it was not ‘high-jacked’ for political purposes.

I personally don’t care which political party you or your committee members belong too. As a member of SHRA for 20 years I’ve seen committee members all colours come and go.

My only interest is that the SHRA serve the residents to the best of their ability.
Jan Weeks 

11 June 2022 - Letter from North Harbour member, Jan Weeks, about leafleting outside the AGM venue.

To Sovereign Harbour Residents Association Committee.

Congratulations on a well-managed and well attended AGM, the first in 3 years. Although I may not agree with all you do, I support what you are doing for the benefit of the residents of Sovereign Harbour.

I was very disappointed however to find that SHRA are affiliating themselves with the ‘Green Party’. Having been accosted outside the venue and handed a ’The Green Party News’ leaflet I was disturbed to find that not only was there an article full of inaccuracies it was also decrying a ward councillor and member of the SHRA committee. One line in the article is disingenuous, ‘Harbour residents are not happy with Cllr. Di Cara’s lack of support’… I have never been polled on this subject by either the Greens or SHRA.

Unless things have changed SHRA was/is an apolitical organisation. Previous committees have had in the past their problems /issues with both the Lib-Dems and Conservative party councillors, all well documented in ‘Waterlines’ and on the website. I sincerely hope this is not the start of SHRA taking sides on party political issues.

However, if this is the case I think the committee should declare their political allegiances.
Kind regards
Jan Weeks 

Response from SHRA
Hi Jan,
The SHRA has no affiliation with the Green Party and intends to remain unaffiliated to any political party. Moreover, the implication that we would affiliate in such a way without a formal decision or the knowledge of either the committee or the membership is quite inappropriate.

We were not aware that the Green Party intended to leaflet outside our AGM. Had we been aware of this, we would have discouraged them as we would not wish attendees to draw incorrect conclusions about political affiliations as you have done.

We may have members who are in the Green party and as you know, we have a number of members who are closely associated with the Conservative party. We try and represent interests of all members irrespective of their political affiliations.

As regards the article in the newsletter, we will be writing to the Green Party and asking them where they got the information.
Susan Kerrison  
Chair SHRA

05 April 2022 - Letter from North Harbour member, Keith Forbes

Comments re your Pevensey Bay to Eastbourne Coastal Management Scheme Waterlines report

I write in response to the latest Waterlines Issue report re the above. I recall that nearly six years ago the SHRA asked what funding residents might be able to come up with to help in a possible legal action against the Environment Agency. Nothing happened then, not surprisingly, given the likelihood of substantial legal costs.

But it seems no one then thought of approaching it from another way, an initial no-cost way, namely in a class action Human Rights Commission formal complaint citing the massive discrimination the Environment Agency has demanded from Sovereign Harbour in the 1 kilometre length of the harbour, which residents not businesses in the harbour have for years had to pay via the annual estate Rentcharge, yet all other residents much closer to the sea all the way to Bexhill pay nothing at all.

Why, once again, are we being asked, so uniquely, to pay for sea defences when nowhere else in the entire U.K. is similarly charged? Why are we as residents being deliberately discriminated against by the Environment Agency, when all other areas of Eastbourne get their flood defence at no cost? This injustice demands and will be getting national and international news media attention.

Why is Premier’s Sovereign Harbour the only harbour and marina in the entire U.K. expected to pay? In all other counties, cities and towns the Environment Agency offers them, both residents and businesses, flood defence at no additional cost, as part of the general taxes they pay. There, the costs of their harbours, because they are seen as business, cultural and environmental assets, are included in the taxes charged by their local authorities. Why are we, Sovereign Harbour residents, not getting from both the Environment Agency and our local authorities the same kind of free flood defence that all other residents of Eastbourne and East Sussex get?

Why is the Environment Agency expecting Premier to pay for 1.5 km when the harbour width is 1 km? And surely, as Sovereign Harbour is such an asset to Eastbourne, the costs of repairs to the locks, including raising the height of the outer harbour spit and locks, and some work, as yet unspecified, to protect the outer harbour walkways and the inner harbour., should all be borne by the local authorities.

I really hope other residents of Sovereign Harbour will agree that we have been grossly discriminated against by the Environment Agency and that we should join up in a no-cost class action against the EA at the Human Rights Commission. Is the SHRA willing to get involved in this, or do we need a new and properly constituted, not voluntary, Residents Association to more effectively represent residents?
Keith A. Forbes

SHRA Response
Thank you for your letter, Keith. The payment of a levy by Sovereign Harbour residential property owners to the Environment Agency is a contribution towards the cost of the extra flood protection work made necessary only by the existence of the harbour, so there is no guarantee any ‘discrimination’ claim would succeed, especially as some of the assertions that you suggest in your letter would form the basis of such a claim are incorrect.  As you will have read elsewhere in Waterlines, SHRA does share some of your concerns about the payments to Premier and is actively seeking greater transparency on the way Premier calculates these payments, and improved openness on how they are collected and spent. Lastly, we would point out that the SHRA is a properly constituted Residents Association - you can find our constitution on this web site.

12 March 2022 - Letter from Ray Blakebrough, Deputy Chair, Eastbourne Access Group

Response to Jan Weeks and SHRA ref. new harbour benches on behalf of Eastbourne Access Group

In response to both Jan Weeks and the SHRA response to her commentary on the suitability or not of the new benches being installed in sovereign Harbour.  We note the consultation process and the requirement put forward for a long lasting and robust design.

SHRA Comments: "Involved a long, rigorous and thoughtful process. We consulted widely about the seating through the harbour Facebook pages and though the SHRA’s mailing list.  The response overall to having more seats was very positive and the idea garnered financial support from the local council’s devolved budget.  Since installing the seats the response has been overwhelmingly supportive with requests for more”.

"As regards the choice of seats. We chose seats comfortable enough to sit for a rest but not too comfortable they would create a long stay or loitering point.  We also needed seats that were robust, salt resistant and relatively maintenance free.  The seats chosen seemed to meet all these criteria and meet the criteria set out by East Sussex Highways".

Eastbourne Access Group Response For many years, as a local resident, I have noted the need for more seats mainly for older and disabled people who love to visit the harbour but find the total distance of the combined walkways quite lengthy.  Such a move to install new seating was therefore something I and the Access Group welcomed as an opportunity to help older and disabled people really enjoy our harbour.  The final seat selection and the process to choose them has left us disappointed at a lost opportunity to make our harbour truly inclusive.

The Eastbourne Access Group has tried to raise the profile of inclusive design especially within public realm buildings and installations.  Why would we deliberately design spaces that are not suitable for all people to enjoy?  Thoughtless design disables people from entering spaces and premises, these benches will prevent some people from being able to sit and rest. Eastbourne Access Group agrees with Jan Weeks, whilst the consultation process took place, people want benches and they would like more, it is clear that no thought was given to inclusive design by SHRA, ward councillors, or East Sussex County Council.  The only suitable inclusive bench design in the harbour are the benches at Port Moresby place.

It is our opinion that function, as explained in SHRA response, was the priority. Under the Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustment would point to the fact that all parties involved should have provided benches that are comfortable and suitable for all people to enjoy, especially if public money (ward budget) was used to fund or part fund these seats.  We are disappointed that local councillors did not stipulate the design should include the needs of older and disabled people.  That East Sussex County Council did not consider an appropriate design for older and disabled people is poor.

Eastbourne Access Group hope that further additions to seating in Sovereign Harbour are similar in design to those benches at Port Moresby or are memorial benches.
Ray Blakebrough
Deputy Chair Eastbourne Access Group
Disability Involvement Group Member. 

SHRA response
Dear Ray,
We note the concerns you have raised about the suitability of the benches recently added to the harbour pathways and will take them into consideration should the opportunity arise to install further benches. However, as we have stated, the benches chosen were a compromise that provided badly needed respite seating while not being conducive to partying or such like that would have negatively impacted on residents.  For these particular pathway locations the need for that balanced approach will remain.  The benches are proving to be extremely popular and well used.

08 March 2022 - Letter from Sovereign Harbour resident, Jan Weeks

To Chairman and Committee SHRA,
New Benches on Harbour Walkways. Are you disabled with mobility problems? Do you like to rest and have a ‘natter’ with companions? Then these benches are NOT for you.

Walking around the harbour recently I came across the new metal benches, with plaques stating they had been funded and installed by SHRA and EBC.  I was surprised, as I couldn’t, as a member, remember being consulted, nor could I remember other residents being consulted, especially those living close to the seating.  In fact some residents of Pacific Heights South have expressed concern regarding the bench adjacent to their apartment block. 

I initially had no recollection of a consultation of members, nor of other harbour residents who could be affected, in particular residents living close to the locations. I later remembered that in July 2019, almost three years ago, our borough Councillors mooted the idea, having been approached by three residents at one of their monthly surgeries.  In September of the same year a petition with twenty names was submitted to the ward councillors and, after being verified on the electoral role, the Borough Council was approached.  The petition was accepted with the stipulation that only ‘Heritage Seating’ in keeping with other areas, would be acceptable.  However, after identifying suitable locations for installation, and further consultation, which only applied to the chosen areas, the whole issue was shelved due to lack of enthusiasm, and negative feedback from residents in the designated areas.

In October of 2019 the SHRA published a letter from one resident complaining about the lack of suitable seating for elderly and infirm when she was walking around, and this seems to have been the catalyst for the committee to ignore the history.  The benches installed are not only out of keeping with the environment, they are totally inadequate and unfit for purpose.  It would appear that keeping the cost low was the top priority, rather than public safety.

It also seems no risk assessment was conducted to ensure the seating met the needs of the target users.  The seat height is too low and the seat width too narrow which, combined with the omission of a back rest, could pose a danger of falling backwards when “dropping” onto the seat.  The omission of armrests, combined with no backrest and low seat height, gives no assistance to infirm users getting back on their feet.  Metal seat slats will be very cold in winter, making them uncomfortable, and could result in users’ hand skin being frozen to them.  Conversely, in the heat of the summer sun, they could become sufficiently hot to cause burns.  It should be remembered that in either of these situations the users could be somebody who finds it impossible to stand up quickly.  It concerns me that, if no risk assessment was conducted, in case of injury the SHRA could be liable for damages.
Jan Weeks
Harbour Resident

SHRA response
Dear Jan,
We are sorry that you have concerns about the new benches.  Please be reassured that the benches, their situation and fixings comply fully with the requirements of East Sussex Highways who issue licenses for the installation of such benches.  Below we explain more fully the consultation with local residents and why we chose those particular benches.

As you can see, the installation of the seats involved a long, rigorous and thoughtful process.  We consulted widely about the seating through the harbour Facebook pages and though the SHRA’s mailing list.  The response overall to having more seats was very positive and the idea garnered financial support from the local council’s devolved budget.  Since installing the seats the response has been overwhelmingly supportive with requests for more.

Previously, it had been believed that there was a legal requirement to consult property owners who lived in a 100m radius about any proposed seats.  When we read the legislation, we found that this is just not the case.  The legal requirement is only to consult property owners who have a shared boundary with the path where the seat is proposed.  Earlier, our ward councillors had consulted people living in Hobart Quay about a seat on the walkway which is across the road and the other side of a high wall.  There was no legal requirement for them to do this as there is no shared boundary between their property and path where the seat was to be placed, but they believed that ESCC would need this.  The councillors delivered forty letters to Hobart Quay residents, seven responded and six said no.  The Resident’s Association viewed this consultation as flawed; not only was there no legal requirement to consult these residents but the response rate was so poor as to make the results meaningless.  Nevertheless, the results of such flawed consultation were taken to mean that seats could not be placed on Hobart Quay.  With consultation executed in this way it seemed unlikely that any further seats would ever be placed in the harbour against the wishes of many of the residents.

We put our views to an ESCC Highways officer who undertook an on-site survey.  The officer agreed that there was a need for more seats and recommended places where seats could be placed without a legal requirement for consultation.  Seats were to be positioned in a way approved by East Sussex Highways, so that they would not present a security risk or a nuisance to nearby property.

As regards the choice of seats. We chose seats comfortable enough to sit for a rest but not too comfortable they would create a long stay or loitering point.  We also needed seats that were robust, salt resistant and relatively maintenance free.  The seats chosen seemed to meet all these criteria and meet the criteria set out by East Sussex Highways.

As a Residents Association, we try our best to make positive improvements to the harbour environment and thank everyone for their ideas, support, and feedback.
Susan Kerrison
Chair, SHRA.  

09 April 2020 - Letter from Sovereign Harbour resident, Joe Garcia

Dear Chairman and Residents of Sovereign Harbour,

I am writing to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all of the residents who have taken the time over the past three weeks on a Thursday evening to take to their doorsteps, balconies and gardens to demonstrate their gratitude for the NHS & key workers.

Listening to the applause, clanking pots and pans, fireworks and air horns is such an uplifting moment at the end of a challenging day.

I work for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust and have been in the Ambulance Service for almost 35 years. I started my career in Eastbourne in 1985 when the Service was a far cry from what it has become today.

An era when keen and energetic enthusiasm to do your best led to the birth of the Paramedic profession and the Service has evolved to become an attraction to the youth of today who are bringing new energy, enthusiasm and a highly educated workforce to evolve the a service to new heights.

Those that stay in this profession have done so through a sense of duty and acknowledgement that this has become a way of life rather than a job.

The accolade that the residents of Sovereign Harbour have bestowed on me, this evening and past evenings as a member of the NHS family, has reinforced my belief that my career, spent trying to make a difference every day, has very much been worth every hour that I have put in.

As I am reaching the twilight of my career, the young women and men who take up the mantle behind me are the generation that will save the day during this time of crisis, just like other past young generations in history who have stepped up to be counted during a national emergency, they will conquer the challenge and we will be so grateful for their commitment and sacrifice.

They will look at your accolade, in their own unique way and recognise that they have come of age, your applause will stimulate them to strive harder, you applause will strengthen their resolve, your applause will mature their souls, your applause will sustain the youth of today in saving the generations most at risk in this crisis.

I salute you all during this uncertain time. Thank you.

Joe Garcia
Director of Operations
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Live-aboard resident
Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne

Thank you for your letter Joe, it is nice to know that you and your colleagues appreciate the applause. 

25 March 2020 - Letter from North Harbour resident

Dogs on Leads

Both yesterday and today whilst out taking exercise, walking along North Harbour beach and the marina walkways, I encountered several dogs either on extending leads or off lead altogether. Having concerns that there is a possibility of infection from loose dogs running up to people, and children in particular, after making some enquires I was given the following advice.

Legally dogs should be on leads regardless in order to ensure complete control of their dog. A dog on an extending lead in not under full control.

If a person who is contagious with COVID-19 were to touch the dogs fur, and you were then to touch the dog within a short period, transmission is possible. The fur is similar to any surface in that the virus can live for a short period

If this is something that concerns you, call Neighbourhood First for further advice on this and the enforcement of these laws

Best wishes, stay safe

North Harbour resident (name withheld on request).

Advice from VetHelpDirect
What should I do with my pet if I have to self-isolate or be quarantined? There is a chance that your pet may temporarily carry a few viral particles on their coat or in their nose and Public Health England recommend keeping away from pets during home isolation.  If that is unavoidable you should wash hands before and after contact. 

At the moment, all the evidence suggests that pets from an infected home pose very little risk to anyone else.  That said, it would be reasonable for whoever is going to look after them to avoid kisses and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling them.  The usual rules apply of course about not touching nose, mouth or eyes until after they’ve washed their hands thoroughly or applied an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

The WSAVA also recommend wearing a facemask while caring for a pet belonging to someone diagnosed with the virus as an additional safety margin.  That said, as far as we know, the virus cannot survive on or in dogs or cats for more than a few days at the very most.  Click here for further info...

21 March 2020 - Letter from South Harbour resident, Andy Beirne.

Two Eastbournes
Has Mr Forbes [see letter below] ever looked at how quickly Eastbourne 2 has people repairing the shingle banks, whilst Eastbourne 1 looks on in wonderment, waiting for a local authority to think about a response? At the time the people in Eastbourne 2 moved in, they were greeted with a legal covenant - they were under no pressure to move into Eastbourne 2 but knew that if they did, they agreed to pay an annual charge.

One day, Eastbourne 2 stopped moaning, enjoyed the great environment they lived in, and accepted that what amounts to an extra month’s council tax was actually not a huge price to pay. Some people in Eastbourne 2 decided that £250 a year was just too much and moved out with a big huff and a puff, while the people remaining in Eastbourne 2 muttered good riddance whilst watching another high tide not breaching the flood defences, went along to the bars and restaurants they could happily walk to, and enjoyed another nice day.

Moral of the story is, if you don’t want to pay then don’t live here; it’s not rocket science!

Andy Beirne

15 March 2020 - Letter from North Harbour resident, Keith Forbes

Rentcharge Alternative

Dear Sir, I hope this will be of interest to you to publish as a letter.

It cannot be denied by all fair-minded people that in a number of significant respects there is not one Eastbourne but two.  Eastbourne 1 is the fair and biggest-by-far part of the town, comprising eleven of its twelve wards. There, none of the residents have to pay a Annual Estate Rentcharge. In all those eleven wards there are tree-lined streets, parks or recreational areas, beaches recognized as being a key part of Eastbourne, a tourism centre, hotels galore, frequent buses and trains, cinemas, theatres and more.

Eastbourne 2, in sorry comparison, specifically Sovereign Harbour (part of Sovereign Ward) is the unfair part of the town.

Sovereign Harbour, however, is a major asset of huge economic benefit to the whole of Eastbourne. Yet others in the town now with over 100,000 residents do not pay a penny for it. Only 3,119 Sovereign Harbour residents do, so massively unfairly. When I contacted Eastbourne Tourism I was informed that of the 5.4 million people who visited the town in 2019, more than 3.5 million visited Sovereign Harbour.

Unfortunately, what Sovereign Harbour residents have that all the other wards in Eastbourne do not, is a financial expense not found in any other seaside attraction and marina in the whole of the UK or Europe or the rest of the world. It is the hated Annual Estate Rentcharge.Nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world has to pay this kind and price of Annual Estate Rentcharge. Nor does anywhere in the UK or Europe have to pay such a surcharge to the Environment Agency. 

As an alternative to making it clear upfront to would-be new buyers of Sovereign Harbour property that the Annual Estate Rentcharge applies, a fair solution to change this inequity, to right a long-established wrong, would be for both residents from other Eastbourne wards and the 3 .5 million or so annual visitors to Sovereign Harbour to pay a token fee of £1.00 each time they visit Sovereign Harbour, given it is of such major economic benefit to the town.

There are precedents for this, for example in Portmeirion in North Wales, the third most popular visitor attraction in Wales, where the per-day visitors fee is £10 a time. The result of this proposed change of direction of Sovereign Harbour’s hated Annual Estate Rentcharge could in fact, after some appropriate adjustments for collection of the new harbour charge fee by the collecting agents, the Sovereign Harbour Trust and its Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC, be to the advantage of these two companies. Instead getting a revenue stream in 2020 of £263.55 from only each of 3,119 Sovereign Harbour resident property owners, they could likely collect in 2021 £1 or more apiece from each of 3,500,000 visitors.

It is well-known by the Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council and those 3,119 Sovereign Harbour owners or lessors of residences, but probably not by others, that those Sovereign Harbour residents, who alone have to pay the entire cost, are not the only beneficiaries of the Environment Agency payments. Living in the same flood plains, potentially liable to the same flood damages, are the owners of over 14,000, possibly as many as 17,000 properties in nearby Pevensey, Pevensey Bay and all the 9 miles east to Cooden Bay in Bexhill on Sea. But to date they have been exempted from payment.

Why! In future they must be made to pay their fair share. Or the complete Annual Estate Rentcharge has to cease, be repealed with the help of our Member of Parliament and other MPs. Mr Hew Merriman is the Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle, which includes Pevensey. It was written in Issue 154, Winter 2019-2020 of The Parish Pump magazine of Pevensey Bay, Stone Cross, Westham, Pevensey, Normans Bay and Hankham on page 5 that “The sea defence contract is of course a concern for local people and we continue to maintain strong links with the Environment Agency and other statutory organisations to ensure that the defences remain secure and that the current contract which expires in 2025 will be replicated.”

Our MP is Caroline Ansell who has stated publicly earlier that the Annual Estate Rentcharge is unfair. We expect her to be fighting in our corner to ensure that the gross unfairness of Sovereign Harbour residents only, not those of Mr. Merriman’s constituents as well, paying the charges is changed so that all residents in the same flood zone pay an equal share, if the charge is not repealed entirely.

One of the above two options surely has to be accepted by our Member of Parliament, her fellow Conservative MP in the Pevensey Bay and Bexhill area, other MPs, Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council, and U.K. government ministers. It will then represent a significant new dimension to Eastbourne’s Direction of Travel: Issues and Options for Eastbourne. Incidentally, I wrote about all this for that initiative but never got an acknowledgement. I also replied to the recent Housing survey and made a point of stating how the Annual Estate Rentcharge is a poison chalice, not a credit, to Eastbourne and why Eastbourne in general, Sovereign Harbour in particular, is the Annual Estate Rentcharge capital of the world. Also without acknowledgement.

It is such a shame that we have two Eastbourne’s, one fair and the other so unfair. It warrants those of us in Sovereign Harbour going international and also reconsidering the merits of a Parish Council over the demerits of constant stony indifference to our concerns by our councillors at EBC and ESCC. I hope you find this noteworthy, quote worthy and newsworthy.

Keith Forbes
San Diego Way

10 February 2020 - Letter from North Harbour resident, Angus Bannerman

Coastal defences

Came across this is old You Tube footage by chance, filmed & commented on some 13 years ago, on the early stages of the controversial build of the harbour.

It still really concerns me if its now possible with climate change, unusually excessive storms and high tides coming in from the Atlantic hitting this part of the coast in future, which could cause enormous damage & flooding to residential properties? 

I wonder if sea defences have been improved sufficiently now to withstand any unusual high storm weather (like today [Sunday's storm Ciara]), as defences on this coastline nearby must weaken over time,( Pevensey Bay for instance, has been breached not long ago in the past with heavy damage!)........ & is our money being well spent contributing to the Harbour rates on sea defences, & if not, collectively, we know who to sue if the inevitable may happen!?

Yours & SHRA members comments would be appreciated if you decide to publish?

Angus Bannerman

SHRA response
- Angus highlights an important issue. The video he refers to is a recording of the rather dramatically entitled BBC programme, “Living in the Death Zone” shown twenty years ago. It has long been available on the SHRA website...  There is no doubt that the inevitably rising sea levels and increasing storm events are going to create big problems. However, the current sea defences here are designed to withstand a catastrophic 1:400 year event. We will be featuring more on this issue in future editions of Waterlines, and SHRA will be seeking an input when the new contract for sea defence work is negotiated in a couple of years time. 

16 Oct 2019 - Letter from North Harbour resident, Iris Davis

More public bench seats around the harbour.

I find it hard to understand why Sovereign Harbour with its many elderly not excluding disabled residents does not have more public seating. The seats on the front of the new houses in Port Moresby Place have been occupied regularly throughout the summer months. It’s so lovely to walk around both the North and South Harbour but would be so much better if someone like me, who gets very breathless, could just sit down for a while and get my breath back.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Iris Davis

SHRA response - That's a good point and we will raise it with the approproaite authorities.

07 May 2019 - Letter from South Harbour resident, Diane Campbell

Dear SHRA,
Having just had a walk around the Water Feature, we are appalled at the number of residents who have fenced off the railings and gate to their homes, blocking out the view of the Water Feature, and narrowing the whole landscaping. The fences are ugly and unsightly and should be banned.

I understand people wanting privacy and the way to do it is either by shrubs or at least using organic material or even fake hedging, but NEVER, NEVER wooden fencing. If this carries on the whole area will be contaminated. If people don’t like the lack of privacy they should live elsewhere.

We would like to hear views of others on this subject.

Diane and Graham Mortlock
SHRA response - the matter was raised with EBC Planning who visited the area and concluded that no regulations had been broken.

04 Apr 2019 - Letter from North Harbour Resident, Jan East.

I am writing to express my disgust at the amount of litter at the entrance to Sovereign Harbour! Great new signs have been erected to welcome visitors to our prestigious Waterfront but, how disappointed must they feel when they are welcomed by all the rubbish strewn in the bushes and along the roadside!

Jan East, Macquarie Quay, North Harbour.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SHRA Response. - The local councillors arranged a litter-pick in the area earlier this year and I believe they have plans to hold another one. The area is the responsibility of M&G Real Estates owners of the retail park.

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 contracted 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 of 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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SHRA Response. 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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SHRA Response. 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

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