AROUND 120 people attended our breakfast on Friday to hear about exciting plans for Eastbourne Pier.
The event was staged at the Mansion Lions Hotel and organised by Eastbourne AM Rotary Club, with special guests Mayor Janet Coles and councillor Colin Belsey, chair of East Sussex County Council.
New pier owner Sheikh-Abid Gulzar – who also owns the Mansion – welcomed his guests and donated the costs of the breakfasts to charity.
Many people were present to hear Mr Gulzar speak, just two weeks after his purchase of Eastbourne Pier.
He told the audience that he was thrilled to have bought the iconic site but there was much work to be done, and some of it at a large cost.
‘I have many plans in mind, such as the jettying of boats which is one of my top priorities,’ he said.
‘Some people have asked, for example, whether I will reopen the Blue Room. The reality is the cost of that is very, very high and I am not a multi-millionaire.
‘I have to make sure that what I do on the pier will bring in a good return so that the bills can be paid and the investment can continue.
‘I love this pier, I am on it seven days a week, but it all has to make good business sense as well.’
He said he was keen for Eastbourne’s economy to continue to grow in terms of more money coming into the town, and therefore more jobs.
‘I am talking to people every day on the pier. I want it to grow and to prosper.
‘There are some lovely attractions on there – the tea rooms are lovely but I want to make them better, Atlantis is an amazing building, and the fish and chip shop will get better and better. I will make sure of that, and we’ve only been going for two weeks.
‘People are asking me to commit to more detailed plans but I am being very careful what I commit to.
‘I have to be. I don’t want to say something that I can’t then carry out.’
He said he was flattered by the turnout on Friday morning, and hopes to arrange such meetings regularly.
The charity to benefit from Friday’s breakfast was SASBAH – the Sussex Association for spina bifida and hydrocephalus – and more than 700 was collected.
SASBAH chair Hilary Lewis was thrilled by the amount and personally thanked Mr Gulzar and his team.