Cadets unit ‘all at sea’ if council rent increase goes ahead

Mike Jones, Lee Nolan CO and Paul Metcalfe at the Sea Cadets HQ Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160806-154643008
Mike Jones, Lee Nolan CO and Paul Metcalfe at the Sea Cadets HQ Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160806-154643008

Eastbourne’s sea cadet unit fears it will have to close due to what it calls a potentially crippling rent increase by the council.

The unit owns the building in Royal Parade close to the Fisherman’s Club and pays a pepppercorn rent of £5 a year to the council which owns the land.

But unit officials are furious after a council rent review looked to raise it to £9,500 a year, which would initially be offset by a rent support grant but would still be an increase of hundreds of pounds each year.

Within three years the unit could be paying the full £9,500.

Cadet unit vice president Bob Hamblyn said, “Our concern is that such an increase in cost for the sea cadets would in the long term be unsustainable.

“The building was originally built in 1962 and paid for by the sea cadets from donations from local companies and residents and erected on land leased from the council. The premises have no commercial open market value as they are a purpose build Sea Cadet Unit.

“We are a charity and if we end up having to pay out hundreds of pounds in rent to the council, we will have to close.

“It is as simple as that. We cannot let this happen on our watch.”

A council spokesperson said, “Since December 2007 the Sea Cadets have paid rent of £5 per annum.

“The signed agreement stated the rent from December 2015 would accurately reflect the open market value of the leased property.

“The first review set the rent at £9,500 per annum. However, the council grant of £9,000 offsets this cost, meaning the rent stands at just under £10 per week.”

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