LETTER: It’s pier needs money, not me

I am sending this letter in response to the many comments and enquiries in relation to ‘Why does Sheikh Gulzar need £2 million when he is a flamboyant multi-millionaire?”

It is NOT I that requires the money, it is Eastbourne Pier that needs it as a result of the constant high level of management required. This includes routine maintenance, the refurbishment works to improve the cosmetics of our pier, the daily running costs such as insurance, utilities, staffing, advertising, business rates, stock purchasing etc.

All the improvements that I am undertaking will not only benefit our pier but will help support the entire borough in particular the seafront area through this tourism jewel of Eastbourne. Ninety-five per cent of residents and businesses who I meet are supportive of me and the purchase of the pier with the minority who are just trying to cause disruption and negativity. I want Eastbourne Pier to be the happy venue where people, including families, old and young, able bodied and disabled, can come and enjoy themselves and cherish each and every moment they have on our pier.

I have lived in Great Britain for more than 50 years and spent in excess of one and a half decades here in Eastbourne, the town that I love.

I am proud to be an Eastbourne resident as well as being an employer of 100 staff. I live onsite at the hotel, I work seven days a week and I have not taken an official salary since living in Eastbourne. The reason I do this is simply because I like to give people opportunities by giving them much needed employment and invest in my properties to ensure a high standard of customer excellence is maintained at all times for those that stay in my hotels.

Hotel accommodation is vital to the enjoyment of a visitor’s holiday and often determines if they will return in the future. I pride myself on The Lion Hotels and all the enjoyment we have provided to thousands and thousands of visitors over the years.

I would state that the minority should stop being so negative and actually help to encourage me to continue investing in and improving the pier. To date since the purchase nearly £200,000 has been invested in its improvement.

I know there was a lot of comment about the possibility of implementing an admission fee to visit the pier. Although it is not on the agenda presently, I do feel that it is important to note that one is not allowed to park one’s car without paying a fee to the council and even get charged to sit in a deckchair on the beach. Nothing is for free.

Finally I just want to say a very big thank you to everyone who is supporting the pier. I want to make Eastbourne Pier the best in the United Kingdom, one that will be enjoyed now and for future generations.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar

Chairman and MD

Lion Hotels Ltd

and Eastbourne Pier

Grand Parade

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