Concerning the furore which has erupted over the supposed desecration of a Victorian pier by painting parts of it gold, may I, as a long-term resident of the town, throw myself into the debate. I would say the effect is rather striking and I think the Victorians would have loved it.
It has now become possible to see the dome from a far distance glittering in the sunlight. As far as I can remember, the only actual structural desecration occurred in the 1970s when, following a fire in the pier theatre, Eastbourne Borough Council gave its consent and blessing to a reconstruction in a style entirely at odds with how it once had been. One wonders where Historic England and the conservationists and historians were then!
The people of Eastbourne should be grateful (as I’m sure most are) that Sheikh Abid Gulzar has taken on the enormous responsibility (and cost) of keeping our pier in a good state of upkeep and repair. The Eastbourne council should be grateful too, and fully support him in what he is doing. Had he not taken on the task I fear the pier would have fallen into a state of neglect and possibly long-term dereliction.
To see what can happen to a pier when it is not cared for one has only to look at Brighton’s West Pier – the rusting shell of what was once considered to be the most beautiful pier in Britain.
Had there been someone like Mr Gulzar around to save it, it might be there to this day and Historic England could indulge in debating the colour it should be painted!
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