A seaside town in decline with a lacklustre council that is desperate to revive tourism against government cuts




Council leader David Tutt


CLR. DAVID TUTT - Liberal policies may not be what is needed to bring the failing economy of Eastbourne back to life. We might need something bolder. David is smiling here but in reality has he got a lot to smile about, apart from being re-elected despite constant traffic jams, potholed roads and service cuts. He is of course concerned about these issues and we imagine, trying to sort something out to benefit residents.



Bare boards where there should be the Blue Room


HERITAGE TRAGEDY - Here is where the Blue Room should be, the missing third of Eastbourne pier. How much longer will it be before it is put back? That is the question everyone is waiting to have answered. The steelworks alone are estimated to cost around £3 million pounds. The whole of Eastbourne is waiting to learn of the new owner's plans for the pier that made it onto the At Risk register last year. Where did the £2 million pounds that David Cameron disappear to? Where did the insurance money go that should have rebuilt the Blue Room. These are all questions that we'd like answers for.





The new owner of Eastbourne Pier is holding an ‘open surgery’ this weekend to listen to the public’s views on what they want to see happen on the iconic site.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar - who owns two seafront hotels and a nursery in the town - is due to complete on the sale of the pier on Friday October 30 after exchanging contracts late last Thursday afternoon.

He says his first move will be to involve the town’s people because he wants to hear what they have to say. He said, “I have been inundated with messages this week from the people of Eastbourne, sending me congratulations but also asking me what my plans are.

“Well, I say to them ‘I want to listen to what you would like to see happen to your beloved pier’.

“That is why I am inviting anyone to come and see me this Friday
[actually Saturday) on the pier. I want to meet people and hear what their views are.”

Mr Gulzar says he is keen to see the pier as an integral part of the Eastbourne community and has already started planning a series of festive celebrations.

“I know some people expect me to come out straightaway and say this is what I am going to do to the pier,” said Mr Gulzar. “Well, it’s all at a very early stage, people must understand.

“We are not going to rush. We are going to talk with the people of Eastbourne, we are going to listen, then we are going to make decisions.

“I have a talented team around me and we all know we have a massive opportunity here - a massive opportunity to make the pier great again.

“And great it will be. People will be talking about Eastbourne Pier all over the country, and for the right reasons I am sure. We are all very excited.”

Everyone is welcome to meet Mr Gulzar and his team between noon and 2pm on Saturday at the entrance to the pier. If the weather is bad, the meeting will be held in the bar area.



Mr Gulzar views his latest purchase, looking for a bright future Copyright photograph 30 October 2015


LOOKING FOR YOUR OPINIONS - The current owner of Eastbourne pier, Sheikh Abid Gulzar is hoping to gain ideas on Saturday 31 October that may help him turn around this loss making heritage asset. The courageous entrepreneur is seen above on Friday 30th November, having completed the purchase formalities. 


There are many suggestions already published as to possible uses for this outstanding structure, one good example being that by the Cleaner Oceans Club, a conservation group based in Sussex. It will be interesting to see who attends Mr Gulzar's invitation and what ideas are generated. At least the views of the citizens will be heard, and the event looks set for a reasonable day, according to the weather forecast below. We wish Mr Gulzar all the very best with his enterprise. Copyright Photograph © 30 October 2015 courtesy of Cleaner Ocean Club Ltd, now Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need the permission of the copyright holder to use this picture in any publication. Please use the links above to contact the proprietors directly.




We will report on this meeting in due course and hope to hear many ideas that will keep the character of the pier intact, but still provide a sustainable income for much needed and regular maintenance.






Agenda and minutes - Conservation Area Advisory Group - Tuesday, 14th July, 2015 6.00 pm


Venue: Town Hall, Eastbourne


Contact: Simon Russell on 01323 415021 E-mail: simon.russell@eastbourne.gov.uk

Application No. PC/150285

Northern Trust Company Ltd
Lynton House, Ackhurst Park
Chorley, PR7 1NY



Location: Eastbourne Pier, Grand Parade, Eastbourne

Proposal: Installation of rides and stalls upon the decking at the location of the former Blue Room at Eastbourne Pier for a temporary period of at least 18 months prior to redevelopment.


(Amended description)

Decision Date: Refused 4 June 2015

In pursuance of their powers under the above Act and Regulations the Council as Local Planning Authority hereby refuses consent to the above development in accordance with the proposals set out in your application for Listed Building Consent and shown on the plans listed.

The reasons for the Council's decision to refuse consent are:-

1. The proposal fails to preserve or enhance the special historic interest, integrity and architectural merit of the Grade II* listed pier and its immediate setting within the historic seafront together with an adverse impact on the setting of surrounding listed buildings, to the detriment of this site in particular and surrounding area in general. As such, the proposal would be contrary to Policies UHT17 of the Eastbourne Borough Plan 2007, Policy D10 of the Eastbourne Core Strategy Local Plan 2013 and paragraphs 131 to 136 of the National Planning Policy framework.

Leigh Palmer (Senior Specialist Advisor)

INFORMATIVE - In the light of this decision and in accordance with paragraph 136 of the NPPF, the applicant is encouraged to take all reasonable steps to progress the reinstatement of the Blue Room building with a replacement building and should contact the Council without undue delay to facilitate the development.





Application Reference 150285
House Name Eastbourne Pier
House No
Address Line 1 Grand Parade
Application Description Installation of rides and stalls upon the decking at the location of the former Blue Room at Eastbourne Pier for a temporary period of at least 18 months prior to redevelopment. (Amended description)
Listed Building & Conservation Area Decision Refusal Notification PLNC (Planning Online) Thursday, June 4, 2015
Comments and planning committee enquiries Monday, June 1, 2015
Objection (Public doc) Wednesday, May 27, 2015 OBJECTION - 12 Marine Parade
Objection (Public doc) Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Obj 25-28 Grand Parade
Comments and planning committee enquiries Thursday, May 21, 2015
Objection (Public doc) Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Obj Flat 5 Miramar House
Consultee Response (Public) Tuesday, May 19, 2015 English Heritage response
Comments and planning committee enquiries Saturday, May 16, 2015
Consultee Response (Public) Thursday, May 14, 2015 Conservation response
Objection (Public doc) Wednesday, May 6, 2015 Obj Flat 5 Miramar Hse



BBC NEWS 22 October 2015


The sale of Eastbourne Pier, badly damaged by fire 15 months ago, has been agreed according to a local hotel chain owner. Sheikh Abid Gulzar said he agreed the deal with owner Cuerden Leisure on Wednesday.

He would not disclose the cost, but the BBC understands it is less than the £5.5m asking price when the pier was last for sale in 2009. Cuerden said the sale was not completed and it would comment later.



All proceeds go to charity, bare boardwalk in need of a music pavillion



'DADDY OF THE PIER' - About one third of the 1870 Grade II* listed structure was destroyed in the blaze on 30 July 2014. It was partially reopened in September 2014 but a large section remains empty.

The pier was put up for sale this summer when Eastbourne Borough Council refused Cuerden Leisure permission to install temporary children's rides on the vacant section of the structure.

Sheikh Gulzar, who owns two hotels in Eastbourne and another near Hailsham, said he was now "the daddy of the pier" but would work with the council to ensure any plans had its full approval. "I have got a lot of love and affection for it and I will look after it," he said. "I can see the pier from my bedroom."





'DELIGHTED' - Cuerden director St John Stott said: "A sale of Eastbourne Pier did not complete yesterday. "We will let you have a statement if and when anything happens."

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Christina Ewbank said she was delighted a local business person was investing in the pier. "If Abid Gulzar is looking at a series of changing events that will bring people on to the pier that can only be good," she said.

Liberal Democrat Council leader David Tutt said the council was keen to work with whoever owned the pier to ensure it remained the landmark attraction for Eastbourne.



Burned out steel wreckage of Eastbourne's pier 2014


WHITE ELEPHANT - The Pier suffered a fire on July 30, 2014 that ripped through a large amount of the central domed building. Sussex Police initially said that the fire was not to be treated suspiciously, though later the police said arson was suspected. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service deployed up to 80 officers to tackle the blaze, which allegedly started in wood paneling in the walls of the games arcade. Is it not about time that a law was passed to force pier owners to install automatic fire damping technology. They are built over the sea after all, so there is plenty of water about.



Eastbourne pier needs to be rescued


It's a strange thing that links Brighton and Hastings with Eastbourne; all their piers have had fires. Why is that? What is the common denominator? Well, pier operators rarely make significant profits from their seaside palaces, and profits are needed to keep historic buildings like this in good condition. Perhaps standards slide. The police took a different view in investigating possible arson, but came up with nothing in the way of evidence. 


Pier fire 'dry run' just months ago - A small fire in wall panelling is believed to have started the bigger blaze. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: "Around 60 firefighters are now in attendance and tackling the fire. They were called out at 3.13pm." A spokesperson told Channel 4 News the 12 fire engines are manned by crews who did a full fire simulation on the pier eight months ago on 3 December 2013.





Eastbourne Borough Council

1 Grove Rd, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4TW
Tel: +44 (0) 1323 410000



Eastbourne pier in the 1930s, deck chairs, promenade

PIER HEYDAY - The good old days, when flights were not unrealistically cheap (carbon unfriendly) and package deals to Majorca and other popular destinations could not be contemplated by the ordinary man in the street. Now of course, it's cheaper to jet overseas than it is to stay in the UK - with more to brag about on your return.


According to the Independent (Charlie Cooper) in April 2013, anything that spooks holidaymakers is seriously bad news for the “seaside economy”. Tourism brought in £346m to local businesses in Eastbourne in 2010, according to Tourism South East. It is the crucial thing that keeps the communities in such places working. For the shopkeeper and café owner, fewer visitors means fewer people hitting the streets, fewer ice creams, fewer sticks of rock – and less money in the till. With so many people employed in the sector, that soon has a knock-on effect which can lead to widespread decline in the local economy.




 STEPHEN LLOYD MP - If Mr Lloyd had thought to table a motion to make it law that pier operators must have fire fighting equipment fitted, this may not have happened. In general politicians are not leaders, they are followers. They do not have original ideas, they simply invite ideas from all and sundry, pick one and ride their very comfortable careers all the way to the finishing line.


Accidental or deliberate, it matters not, we still lose our heritage. There are so many pier fires it is a wonder that insurance companies are still prepared to insure these high-risk structures. When times are hard it must be difficult to resist the temptation to light a match then sit back and fill in an insurance claim form. The next question is, will we see scenes like this from Airbourne 2016. Are this council going to start acting responsibly and ban dangerous events that potentially put the public and town at risk?



Eastbourne pier is a monument at risk as of September 2015



THE PIER SEPT 2015 - “When the economy slowed down, people just downgraded where they were going. Those who used to go to America go to Europe, those who went to Europe go to a seaside town, and those that went to seaside towns don’t take holidays,” theorizes the elder Keeley. “So overall it’s been the same.” But this year has been a shocker. Mr Webster, who supplies more than 250 gift shops like Bobster’s all along the south coast and has been in the business for years, said he has never seen an Easter weekend so bad. He is down 80 per cent on last year, because the shops he supplies just aren’t selling their wares fast enough. 




“There was a time when we wouldn’t worry about a bad spring,” he said. “You could always rely on the summer. With the past two summers we’re not too sure. But my old boss used to say: ‘The bucket-and-spade business is recession-proof – all it takes is for the sun to come out and you’re selling again.’ ” [But is that all it is - we doubt it - there is a perceived lack of vision from the local authority. If you are not moving forward, you are going backwards. Other south coast havens like Portsmouth in Hampshire and Plymouth in the West Country are plowing ahead.]


David Tutt and Colin Belsey


COUNCILLORS DAVID TUTT and COLIN BELSEY - It's no laughing matter chaps. Whose idea was the A22 and A27 anyway? East Sussex Highways made a terrible decision when spending public money on all the wrong road improvements. They should take a look at the West Country where the roads are superb. Long term losses from traffic delays is also a climate change catastrophe. Councillors who do not do their jobs properly should be made to go out and dig roads and do other public works to make amends for their poor performances. As we said above, politicians are not leaders. To be able to lead one has to have a vision. Where is their vision? Check out their websites and you'll see the same old waffle as on any other politicians (local government) websites. "Money for Nothing and your kicks for free." Dire Straits




ROBERT COTTRILL - Was the chief executive officer of Eastbourne Borough Council at the time of writing in 2015. 




OFFICERS OF THE PLAYERS - in alphabetical order 2002


Tim Cookson        -  Head of Planning

Martin Ray   -    Chief Executive

Mark Reynard  - Legal Services Manager and Monitoring officer

Norman Kinish - Planning, Regeneration and Amenities

Lisa Rawlinson - Senior Planning Officer

Graham Kemp - Principle Highway Engineer

Chris Geddes - Environment Agency

Richard Fowler     - East Sussex Fire Officer




Cllr Mrs Elkin

Cllr Bowker (chairman)

Cllr Mrs Charlton

Cllr Deschamps (deputy chairman)

Cllr Mrs Marsh

Cllr Mrs Skilton

Cllr Mrs Williams

Cllr Miss Woodall





Spring Close, Upper Willingdon, Eastbourne

11 Residents and 2 businesses oppose intrusive development, likely to cause additional parking congestion contrary to the East Sussex Act and other dangerous situation at blind bend on Ratton Estate "rat-run" road.  




No justification for intensified development above that recommended by East Sussex County Council a failure to comply with local policy HO12.


Failure to apply local policies as to parking provision in compliance with policies HO18 and HO19.


Failure to comply with the East Sussex Act and the recommendations of the Fire Officer, the recommendations invoking strict compliance with policy HT7.  


In consideration of Eastbourne Borough Council's failure to apply policy consistently we feel this matter should be reported to the District Auditor or from the Auditor to the Police or Parliamentary Commissioner for investigation as to maladministration and or where the suspected offence is a deliberate failure to advise in misfeasance, any possible criminal offence arising from this administration's abuses of process.


It is the duty of every member of this council to question perceived inconsistency in applying adopted policy and to insist of full reports where any doubt as to proper consideration or indeed consultation exists.  This is so despite the fact a councillor may not want to confront an educated officer to question or to make him or herself appear lacking.  New councillors are required to attend a crash course in planning law to equip them with the basics. Unfortunately, these courses do not arm members with sufficient grasp of the law to be able to detect guidance not meeting the standard required by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) from officers or favours from corrupt officers to developers rewarding officers with brown envelopes for turning a blind eye to policy requirements that would otherwise scupper a development proposal.




HO12;   HO18;   HO19;   HT7





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