The Residents' Charter

An Introduction:

Living on the Old Ratton Estate is a choice made by people who wish to live in a beautiful environment chosen for its tranquility and overall ambience, situated adjacent to the South Downs National Park; indeed Ratton is designated as an Area of High Townscape Value. 

In 1973 the original management team set up to govern the estate was wound up and the residents then agreed to the establishment of a new Association and the annual election of a voluntary committee to manage the estate, with all property owners paying an annual maintenance fee. The covenants and mutually agreed terms of residency were established with the aim of keeping the Old Ratton Estate as they found it. 

The alternative was a professional Management Company, with the relevant fees for management and staff, and decisions being taken outside the control of the residents. This is still an option should it not be possible to find residents willing and able to offer their time and expertise voluntarily to manage the Association. Members of the committee are elected as your representatives, tasked with maintaining the estate as cost effectively as possible, but they can only function effectively with the support of everyone. 

Things have continued much the same way since then. However, we are seeing more changes these days, with more properties changing hands and more development work as extensions and improvements increasingly become the norm to fulfil our modern day living requirements. Now seems the right time to refresh and recirculate the guidelines in place for living in Old Ratton, asking residents to agree once more to follow the covenants and agree to abide by the long established and mutually beneficial practices that have kept Old Ratton as one of the most beautiful and sought after addresses in Eastbourne. 

Accordingly, we have brought these covenants and common practices together in a Memorandum of Understanding intended to apply to all residents, whether freeholders or tenants. 

The current Covenants call upon all residents to show due consideration to their neighbours and other residents by consulting them and the committee with regard to any external alterations they may wish to make to their property or trees. In addition and amongst other things, it calls on them to look after their frontages, grass verges, trees, gardens, hedges, not keep livestock or caravans and generally upkeep the standards set by our predecessors and maintain this beautiful estate. The relevance and importance of these principles has not diminished over time. 

For clarity, contact ORRA if you are planning any of the following; extensions, windows, doors, major landscaping, driveways, garages / car ports, sheds, greenhouses, brick walls, fencing, hedging, all tree surgery, solar panels, flag poles, satellite dishes. 

The new Memorandum of Understanding has been prepared by the ORRA Committee as an addendum to the present Covenants and is binding on all residents, both freeholders and tenants in perpetuity. 

A Memorandum of Understanding


The covenants call for these to be between 4 and 6ft in height. Over the years heights have varied and some fences erected. Clearly some flexibility exists, most particularly in The Grove where high beech hedges have made a very attractive and distinctive local feature. All desired changes should be discussed with immediate neighbours and the ORRA Committee to agree a mutually satisfactory outcome.


The maintenance of gardens are fundamental to overall high townscape value and must be observed. Grass verges must be up-kept to maintain the beautiful street scene of the estate. Any damage to the grass verges must be repaired by the property owner. Any desired tree surgery should be discussed with immediate neighbours and the ORRA Committee to agree a mutually satisfactory outcome. 

Building Alterations:

It is essential that any external alterations to any property should be put before the ORRA committee prior to and regardless of applying for permission from the Borough Council (if required). Agreement should be obtained, in writing, from immediate neighbours either side, front and back, before any major changes are made as per the current covenants. The traditional fee of one guinea is waived. 

There is a current covenant of not building within 5ft of the boundary of your property and, although this has not always been respected in the past, it is considered good practice to avoid cramping between properties to maintain market value. This also applies to not extending the building line of the property.

Maintenance Fees:

To keep our infrastructure functioning and to maintain the street scene we all enjoy, it is essential that each property contributes towards the overall costs. The funds raised are to be controlled by the committee for essential expenditure, maintenance of trees, drainage, roads, etc., as currently. 

Street Scene:

Following current practice, we continue to object to the keeping of caravans on properties; poultry or livestock (not thought appropriate on a private residential estate); running a business (other than home office scenarios); any vehicles parked on grass verges; keeping trade vehicles (other than parked on an owner’s driveway); contractors vehicles parked on the road overnight or having visible advertising on any property on the estate. 

Courtesy to Neighbours:

It has long been common practice to discourage bonfires; skips on the roads without night time safety lighting (as required by law); building or other work being carried out before 8am or after 6pm Mon-Fri, 8am to 1pm on Saturday or at all on Sundays; no anti-social noisy equipment being used outdoors after 7pm any day; no open feeding of animals or birds to reduce the prevalence of seagulls, foxes and rats which can cause a significant nuisance. 

Agreement to the above shows respect and consideration to residents and neighbours and is considered to be for the overall good of the estate and all who enjoy living here. 

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Old Ratton Residents' Association