Mr G with The Sea Gypsies
THE flamboyant owner of Eastbourne Pier is urging the borough council to back his new expansion plan.
Sheikh Abid Gulzar submitted a listed building consent application in December to reinstate Victorian kiosks destroyed in the 2014 blaze on the pier.
He also submitted a planning application to construct two units similar to Victorian tea rooms in the open deck area.
But he says the process is taking too long and he wants to get the works done because now is the quietest time of the year.
Mr Gulzar said: “I am wanting to do more and more but I just feel that I am being held back.
“The planning department seems to be under a lot of pressure and by joining Lewes District Council these resources are being further shared.
“We used to have an excellent team at planning that always promptly delivered but it looks like they are being pushed and overstretched.
“These things are having a big impact on local businesses which are now suffering.
“Yes, I realise there are other applications that the planning committee has to consider and I fully respect them all. But we are talking about more investment into Eastbourne Pier and generation of more jobs.
“Any works will be preferably carried out by local contractors to keep driving Eastbourne forward.
“The indication we have is that the council will be supportive of what I want to do.
“But it’s not fair to wait months and months. January is a quiet time and the perfect opportunity to get this work done.
“It would be crazy getting permission in the spring and then doing the work in the summer.
“I do feel that businesses need as much help as possible with their day-to-day running.
“We are all working hard and we all need support. I want to get on with this as quickly as I can.”
A council spokesman said: “Eastbourne Pier is a Grade II* listed building and as such is a key heritage asset providing a much-loved attraction for the town.
“In this regard collectively we are working with Heritage England to provide a development plan for the pier covering the next five to ten years.”
Source: The Argus