A jetty for big ships, restoring the old theatre venue and an ice rink are some of the ambitious plans on a wish list for Eastbourne Pier’s new flamboyant owner.
Sheikh Abid Gulzar bought the seafront landmark last month for an undisclosed sum and held an open surgery at the weekend asking local residents what they want to see on the pier.
More than 100 people turned up for the question and answer session outside the Waterfront Bar and topics covered by the public included the possibility of an ice rink, restoring the old theatre venue on the pier, and boat rides from the pier to Beachy Head.
Mr Gulzar said he is planning major investment in the next four to six months when he said the people of Eastbourne will see visible differences.
“I am very serious about this pier,” he said at the open meeting on Saturday lunchtime.
“I love it very much and I want to do big things with it. I want it to be the centre of our lovely town.
“That is why I invited people along to see me on the pier so I can chat with them, raise a smile, and listen to what they want on our beloved pier.”
Mr Gulzar said he was delighted to have the support of MP Caroline Ansell and said he would be working with Eastbourne Borough Council to make the pier great again.
Mr Gulzar said, “I want to see our pier packed, full of people enjoying themselves, both locals and tourists who are so important to the economic well being of Eastbourne.”
As he completed on sale of the 145-year-old building on Friday, Mr Gulzar said he wanted to big a jetty on the pier for big ships.
And he said he is currently finalising the designs with his architects and one of his priorities is to have a berth at the end of the pier to allow pleasure ships to dock for day trips.
Mr Gulzar will talk about more of his plans for the pier at a charity breakfast Mr Gulzar is staging on Friday (November 6) at the Mansion Lions Hotel when he will be talking about the pier.
Each year Mr Gulzar works with Eastbourne AM Rotary Club to raise money for charity. This year all money will go to SASBAH - the Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus - which is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2015.
So far around 60 people have booked in, including mayor Janet Coles, Caroline Ansell MP and Colin Belsey, the county council chairman.
Mr Gulzar said, “I am inviting people to come along at 7.30am this coming Friday. I will be providing tea and coffee plus a full cooked breakfast.
“The cost will be £5 per head, and every penny of that will go direct to the charity. I will cover all the costs for Friday’s breakfast.”
To book call 07710 934 574.
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