Lions gone, but flags ‘intrusive’

Lions Farms on Pevensey Levels showing newly erected flag poles flying the Union Flag
Lions Farms on Pevensey Levels showing newly erected flag poles flying the Union Flag

CONTROVERSIAL lion statues outside a Pevensey farm have been replaced with Union Flags which are just as ‘intrusive’, according to the parish council.

The flags have been put up by Sheikh Abed Gulzar, who runs the Albany Lions Hotels on Eastbourne seafront and owns plots of land on the Pevensey Levels. Pevensey Parish Council has raised its concerns about the flags, saying they look out of place on the marsh. The council says Mr Gulzar’s farmland, on Wartling Road, is on The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

However, when Pevensey Parish Council flagged up its concerns with Wealden District Council it was told flagpoles were ‘permitted developments’.

Councillors have now agreed to seek further advice from Natural England.

This comes after Mr Gulzar was forced to remove his 4ft white lion statues from the farmland. Mr Gulzar had put the statues up without planning permission and had to remove them after a planning inspector said they were ‘unsuited’ to the remote surroundings last September.

Mr Gulzar considered taking the matter to the High Court but finally decided to remove the lions from their gateposts. Residents had complained about the lion statues, describing them as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inconsiderate’ and were pleased to see them leave Pevensey on the back of a lorry in April. Now, Union Flags are flying in their place.

Mr Gulzar said, “I have lived in Britain for 46 years and I am an enthusiastic supporter of the best of our country’s values. The Union Flag celebrates those values, and the flags are flying at our farms to celebrate that fact we are proud to be British, and to our success as a farming enterprise.

“I do not believe we are contravening any regulations, but I have no wish to upset the parish council. They have not been in touch with me, but I would be very happy to hear from them.”