The much-anticipated foreshore development at Hastings has run into an unexpected storm that could delay the town's regeneration.
Following an investigation into the legal position of the beach area, it was uncovered that Hastings council - which bought the foreshore from the Crown in 1893 - only held the land on trust, subject to certain covenants.
This discovery is expected to mean that the Marina Pavilion project by local architect Neil Choudhury could be put back by up to a year, while Foster and Partners'mixed-use scheme at Pelham Place could also be delayed.
The council is taking legal advice and has written to the Charity Commission to register the trust, a move that will mean the property could then be compulsorily purchased.
A spokesman for SeaSpace, the development company behind the regeneration of Hastings and Bexhill, said: 'While it is impossible to predict exactly when the land rights will be resolved, in Pelham's case we don't foresee any significant disruption to plans as it has always been a long-term project. However, if the Marina Pavilion planning application had been approved, we had hoped to deliver the scheme in 2005. Now we will not be able to start work until this issue has been resolved.'