The new owner of Hastings Pier has met with local councillors to outline his plans for the future of the iconic structure.
Sheikh Abid Gulzar met with borough councillors John Rankin and Karl Beaney on Saturday afternoon, Mr Rankin said afterwards: “As councillors we speak to a large number of residents and the overwhelming feeling in Hastings is that they want Mr Gulzar to succeed.
“Everyone must understand that the pier must be sustainable and it has to be more commercial. I want to see traditional pier entertainment, at the moment Hastings residents have to travel to Brighton or Eastbourne to find that, and that’s wrong.
“We must not listen to what I believe is a vocal minority. They had their chance with Hastings Pier.
“I believe the pier has a very positive future. We want to see good family facilities and I think Mr Gulzar will deliver the goods.”
Mr Gulzar was delighted to meet the councillors, saying: “I am on the pier seven days a week and I’ve had a very warm welcome but there is so much to be done.”
Meanwhile Mr Gulzar has branded vandals who ripped apart a banner erected at the entrance to Hastings Pier as “cowards”.
The banner was put up on the railings at the front of the pier carrying the logos of 27 businesses, it read: ‘Hastings business owners welcome Sheikh Abid Gulzar, Hastings Pier’s new owner.”
The banner was the brainchild of Steve Taylor from Primesigns, who said he was upset at the way Mr Gulzar had been treated on the pier the night he was announced as the new owner.
Vandals ripped the banner in half overnight on Friday just three days after it had been put up and after a series of critical posts on the ‘Friends of Hastings Pier’ Facebook group, Julie Price said of the banner: “…it’s up at the gates of our award-winning pier. Like something from the Pound Mart. I know which businesses I won’t be using/listening to for sure…”
Chrissy Brand told fellow ‘Friends of Hastings Pier’: “I’ll be boycotting all of ’em…Join me!”
David Barrett told the group: “…we have to be willing to give this guy a chance he has done nothing wrong with the purchase.”
Mr Gulzar said this week that he was, “very disappointed,” that anybody would done that, “It was a lovely gesture from the 27 businesses showing their support for me.
“Suffice to say I am 100 per cent focused on the future of Hastings Pier and making it great.
“It will take time, we have to make it profitable and sustainable for the long term.
“Cowardly acts like this will of course not deter me. It just disappoints me.
“We all need to focus our energy in a positive manner.”
Mr Gulzar said the banner has been repaired.