About Sovereign Harbour Trust
Residential property owners in Sovereign Harbour are contractually liable for an annual payment to fund the ongoing maintenance of the sea defences that protect the 800 metres of the coast in front of the development, and some elements of the marina infrastructure. This liability is established by a “rentcharge”, a legal document which imposes payment obligations on owners and obligations on the recipient as to application of the money.
To provide a permanent organisation to collect and apply the payments, a charitable company, Sovereign Harbour Trust (SHT), was formed in 2001. A charitable structure was used because it would ensure that the arrangements would be permanent and there was no risk of commercial failure impacting on the process of collection and application of the money.
The SHT started to collect the rentcharges in 2003 and continued to do so until 2009. SHT then formed Sovereign Harbour (Sea Defences) CIC and assigned to it the benefit and burden of the rentcharges. The CIC is owned by SHT and the board members are the same for both organisations. It is the CIC which now collects payments from homeowners and applies them according to the rentcharge terms, and SHT has no additional function than ownership of the CIC, thus ensuring permanence of the organisational structure.
Since 2007, when Premier Marinas (PM) purchased the marina, two nominees of PM have sat on both boards, with other board members initially nominated by the Environment Agency and more recently selected from volunteers from the local community. Accordingly all the board members are either stakeholders or representatives of stakeholders in the Trust and the CIC. None of the board members is paid by the Trust or the CIC.