Hastings council leader '˜disappointed and angry' at pier sale

The leader of Hastings council has said he is '˜disappointed and angry' at the decision to sell Hastings Pier to a private entrepreneur.

Peter Chowney has reacted to the sale of Hastings Pier
Peter Chowney has reacted to the sale of Hastings Pier

It was announced on Friday (June 15) Sheikh Abid Gulzar, who owns Eastbourne Pier, had officially purchased the seafront Landmark.

Councillor Peter Chowney has reacted to the news on social media, expressing his anger over the sale process.

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He said: “Disappointed and rather angry at the administrator’s decision to give the pier to Abid Gulzar, the owner of Eastbourne Pier. But this anger is more about the process.

Mr Gulzar on Hastings Pier. Photo by Sid Saunders

“The council had no formal way of influencing this decision, but did try to persuade the administrator to allow more time to other bidders – there were at least two other bids that needed more time to raise funds or do the necessary due diligence, but their requests for more time were turned down.”

Councillor Chowney said he had had meetings with those interested in taking on the pier and had spoken about their proposals with council officers.

He added: “But we have had no formal approach at all from anyone associated with Eastbourne Pier.

“So we have no idea what his ideas for Hastings Pier are – we’ve not seen the bid, nor have we been told anything about it.

Hastings Pier. Photo by Eddie Mitchell.

“The first I knew about it was from the email from the administrators to pier shareholders, as one of the shareholders.”

He went on: “Over the years, Hastings Council has spent well over a million pounds on the compulsory purchase and restoration of Hastings Pier.

“But we didn’t own it – it was transferred to Hastings Pier Charity, who eventually put the pier into administration because they couldn’t run it without several hundred thousand pounds a year in public subsidy.

“The Foreshore Trust Charity Committee was set to discuss possible options too at its meeting later this month, but there’s no point in that now. “I’m afraid I really can’t understand the rationale to this decision, but we’ll now have to see what Mr Gulzar has in mind, when he decides to share that with us.”