From: Richard Beech
Re: the pier and its future. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Wendy Norman’s view (Opinion, April 6) is very different to mine, and having been associated with Eastbourne for over 25 years, I think the pier has never looked better.
This improvement and its greater popularity is due solely to Sheikh Gulzar, and I applaud him for what he has done so far, long may the improvements continue.
Wendy Norman’s plea for the pier to be taken under the control of English Heritage and Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) is not supported by any firm facts which would improve the situation.
Perhaps she should realise that so far we have not heard or read of any objections from English Heritage to the improvements, so one must assume they are satisfied with the situation. Also I fear that should English Heritage buy it, then I feel sure charges would be imposed depriving many of using the facility.
Regarding control and purchase by EBC, please note that prior to the fire, when the pier was is disrepair, EBC tried to enforce the owners into action but they did nothing, due to it being up for sale, and neither EBC nor anyone else was interested in a purchase. Then the disastrous fire occurred and David Cameron came to the rescue, promising EBC £2 million to help with tourism due to the pier loss. Still no move by EBC to purchase the pier, putting the money towards the Wish Tower site instead. EBC’s record of maintaining public assets is very poor, with problems at the Congress Theatre, thousands of pounds being wasted on unsightly scaffolding, closure of the Bandstand, due to lack of maintenance and finally the Wish Tower restaurant.
This restaurant, built as a memorial to Eastbourne people’s sacrifices in the Second World War was finally demolished in 2012 being uneconomic to repair, a situation entirely EBC’s responsibility.
Thousands of pounds were ultimately wasted on temporary facilities whilst waiting for a landmark restaurant to be built, and yes we are still waiting. EBC in control of the pier - no thanks.
Here’s hoping many more improvements by Sheikh Gulzar are in the future.