A pair of retailers are annoyed they were not considered to run a new shop on Eastbourne Pier after the recent decision to bring fishing back by the owner of the famous landmark.
Arran Aghili, 38, of Selmeston Road, used to run the A&T Tackle shop on the pier before his contract was terminated by pier owner, Abid Gulzar, who had refurbishment works planned, which have now been completed.
Arran said, “I’m quite annoyed. Mr Gulzar promised me in 2016 I would get first refusal. But he’s never asked me again. I’ve approached him numerous times but he didn’t reply to my emails.”
Arran had to sell all of his stock cheaply after the contract termination and says he lost about £10,000 in doing so.
He said, “Life went down hill from then on. Everyone has got a perfect job they love doing, this was mine. I was there 15 hours a day, every day, trying to make it even better. It took me years to get it where it was.
“I could have made it work for him. I gave him so many ideas. It would have been nice for a reply. A respectable reason why he would not offer it back to me.
“I would’ve liked to see Tony’s Tackle get it, if not me. From his 40 years experience, he knows what he’s doing.
“I’d like to wish the new owner the best of luck.”
Tony Kirrage, owner of Tony’s Tackle shop on Seaside Road, was also disappointed not to be considered.
Tony said, “It should have been either Arran or myself because we have been here 45 years.
“I wrote lots of letters and emails and Mr Gulzar never answered me. I felt he should have contacted us. It’s just not very nice is it?
“I am more than happy to work with the new owner. I have no animosity against the decision.
“We can still supply people with bait here for fishing on the pier.”
Mr Gulzar said, “We run a private business and who we partner with is our business decision.
“We have invested hugely in the pier structure and carrying out intensive repair works this year.
“We employ more than 140 people at our busiest times of the year and nobody is a greater supporter of Eastbourne than myself.
“The important issue here is that fishing has now returned to the pier.
“Who we partner with on that is down to our judgement and business sense.
“I am confident this will be very popular and be a great success.”