I know what it’s like to be Marmite. People either love you or hate you and I should imagine pier owner Mr Gulzar realises by now that he is guaranteed to polarise opinion whatever he does. The uproar about his gold domes has hit the headlines up and down the country after the council and Historic England intervened and told him to stop work until the relevant permissions are given. Or not given. But what I fail to understand is why people are only starting to complain about it now. Don’t get me wrong, I like the gold domes. I don’t like statues of gold lions and said as much when Mr Gulzar bought the pier last year. But way back in December I noticed the lampposts had been painted ‘Eastbourne Blue’ and the lions on the lampposts, which have been there since the year dot, painted gold. Then the clock was refurbished and painted gold. In recent months various domes have had a lick of gold paint. Yet it’s only now when the work is finished, somebody says they don’t like it. How very contrary. Yes, he should have got planning permission first and yes, he shouldn’t have turfed the fishermen off. But the chap is doing his best and can’t seem to do right for doing wrong. He put his hand in his pocket to buy the pier nobody else wanted and now he’s getting slated and become the target of stupid xenophobic racist remarks, because he is giving it a makeover. Surely, anything that makes the pier look good should be welcomed. At least it’s not falling into the sea.
Lots of people have been concerned at the detritus left on the beach either side of the pier and it now appears it is nothing to do with the current incumbents on the landmark. Eastbourne Borough Council reliably informed me that one side is the rubbish left behind when the pier was refurbished initially after the fire and the authority is chasing it up and taking steps to make sure it is removed. On the other side is the mangled wreckage and twisted steel which – together with the burnt twopence pieces, will eventually be used to make the seafront sculpture Forged by Flame, the winner of the council’s competition to create a piece of public art marking the community’s overwhelming support for the pier following the fire two years ago. So, as someone who constantly bangs on about recycling, upcycling and boring people stupid with saying that we can’t keep putting our rubbish in the ground, one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure and council officials say the sculpture will be positioned in a prominent and suitable location on the seafront by summer 2017. I just wonder where exactly the council has in mind...
Finally this week, how sad that BHS has closed the doors to its Arndale Centre store and the 38 staff have lost their jobs. It really is the end of an era and reminds me how sad everyone was when C&A shut its premises where Next is now all those years ago. The store was a huge unit and its departure is going to leave a massive hole in the centre. Let’s hope it isn’t empty for too long. Personally I am still hoping for a John Lewis, FatFace and Zara. We need some good news soon.
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