The controversial gold coloured domes on Eastbourne Pier are allowed to stay.
The decision was made at a meeting of Eastbourne council’s planning committee last night (Tuesday) amid a heated debate.
Pier owner Abid Gulzar was also given a stern warning not to carry out any more painting on the listed seafront structure without the permission of Historic England or Eastbourne Borough Council.
Mr Gulzar’s contractors painted domes, pinnacles and lions on lampposts on the pier without asking for planning permission.
When complaints were made, he was ordered to stop the painting and apply for retrospective permission .
At last night’s meeting Rebecca Madell, a former councillor, the council’s heritage champion and representing the Meads Community Association, accused Mr Gulzar of having absolutely no regard for planning policy.
“Mr Gulzar constantly practices the give an inch and take a mile philosophy,” said Mrs Madell.
“He has a long history of defacing our buildings and then, only when forced to, does he seek retrospective permission – be it ripping out irreplaceable Victorian features, installing plastic windows and the inappropriate use of gold.”
Mrs Madell called on the council to tell Mr Gulzar to remove the gold paint and reinstate a zinc roof.
But after a heated and tense debate councillors agreed to let the gold coloured paint remain.
Among those voting in favour of giving retrospective permission was Eastbourne mayor Pat Hearn, councillors Miah, Ballard and committee chairman Jim Murray.
Those against included councillors Robinson, Murdoch and Taylor.
After the meeting, Mr Gulzar said, “I am very pleased councillors have agreed to give me permission for the gold to stay on the pier.
“What is wrong with a bit of colour on the pier? People think I am flashy because I drive a gold car and I have gold rings on my fingers.
“The truth is that I am a very hard-working individual who works seven days a week to make the pier – and other parts of my business – a success.
“People love the pier now. I have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds into it. Who else was prepared to do that? Absolutely nobody.
“It has become the talk of the town, and we have been receiving regional and national publicity. I loved being on The Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2.
“I had letters of support from people all over the country after that. A bit of colour is good – and Eastbourne Pier is becoming great. And there’s more to come, make no mistake about that. It is going to be the best pier in the country.”