Sheikh Abid Gulzar has announced new plans for Eastbourne Pier.
Pier owner Mr Gulzar says he is confident a new jetty off the landmark will be up and running by the summer.
He said, “It is something that has been spoken about since I took over the pier in 2015. We have gradually improved Eastbourne Pier bit by bit, month by month, and I’m very pleased with it.
“So too are the public. We are receiving great support from the town and the pier is busy. It may still be winter but of course we have had some nice weather and people have come onto the pier.
“Now the time has come to take forward the jetty plan. The contract is signed and work should be underway soon.”
Back in 2015 when he bought the landmark for an undisclosed sum, Mr Gulzar announced plans for a jetty for big ships off the end of the pier.
The jetty, once completed with a staircase, will enable boats to be docked again at two different levels. This will allow the pier to operate passenger boats for local trips. Once work begins, it is hoped to be completed in 12 weeks.
Mr Gulzar also said he is proud to continue to support the town’s economy at “a difficult time pre-Brexit”.
He said, “It’s not easy for businesses at the moment. We heard two weeks ago of the sad demise of Ellis Building Contractors in Eastbourne. There has been other prominent high street businesses going under.
“It’s now also common knowledge that not all of the restaurants who said they would be coming to The Beacon will now be.
“Let’s make no mistake, business is tough for everyone at the moment. But I am proud that I continue to invest in Eastbourne and East Sussex, employing more than 150 people at our busiest times of the year.
“At my age it would be easy to step back but I’m not going to, I will continue to serve the town and help the economy in the best way that I can, and we are in the right direction.”
Mr Gulzar said, “Regarding my financial affairs, I am proud to say that my office has correctly declared in excess of £300,000 PAYE, NIC and Employer Contribution each year for the last 10 years or more.
“In excess of £100,000 per annum has just been employer’s contribution. A simple calculation shows in excess of £3 million contribution which includes £1 million of employer’s contribution.
“That is a huge amount of money, money that goes back into the economy. It is falsely portrayed that I am flamboyant and loaded with money, but it comes with the bank loans, mortgages and liabilities which I take the burden on to keep the businesses successful.
“It can easily be imagined how much burden will it put on council and other authorities to give job seekers’ allowance and other benefits if these people were not employed. I am proud to be a businessman in Eastbourne and proud to be investing yet more money into the town.”