Caroline Ansell represents a seaside town in decline with a lacklustre council that is desperate to revive tourism against government cuts and transport problems




Caroline Ansell MP, member of parliament for Eastbourne


CAROLINE ANSELL MP - Is a Conservative and the member of parliament for Eastbourne. She was previously a schools inspector, but is now representing the concerns of Eastbourne residents, many of which are worried that the Blue Room has been missing for some time now and must be rebuilt soon, echoing the concerns of Leigh Palmer, a senior planner at Eastbourne Borough Council (see below). The pier at Eastbourne is at risk and will remain on the At Risk register with Historic England until the Blue Room is back. No amount of tickling up the pier here and there with frills will do and in fact money spent on anything other than the urgent restoration works is money that should go toward rebuilding our famous skyline. The point at issue is that the Blue Room is needed to complete this pier. At the moment the public are getting mixed messages as to the intentions of all concerned.




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.





Large boats could dock at the end of a restored Eastbourne Pier under ideas set out by the businessman who has bought the fire-damaged structure.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar held an open day to seek opinions on the pier's future and talked about the return of paddle steamer trips. The town's MP Caroline Ansell said it was a fabulous idea.

She welcomed the chance for people to have their say and said the pier had a special place in the life of the town.

The Victorian structure was devastated by a blaze that took hold in July 2014, completely destroying its main roof and leaving only a metal skeleton.

Ms Ansell said: "We did previously have a boat service that went out to Beachy Head and really took people out to experience life on the water.
[This was the William Alchorn boats that operated from the beach, not from the pier. The restoration of these boats is the brainchild of Lloyd Stebbings and Jason Foster]

"So if there was an aspiration for that, I'd be really excited to see that come through."

She said: "When we had the fire it went around the world, such was the interest and the fascination and the heartache of seeing this very beautiful building in flames.

"It has got a very special place in the life of the local town and the life of the local economy."

Mr Gulzar, a local hotel chain owner, said 22 people were already working on plans to create a future for the pier.

"One of the ideas is we want to have boats to be able to come at the end," he said.

He said he was hoping to have a clear way forward for the pier within the next six months.




2014 BID - Jason Foster and Lloyd Stebbings crouch in front of the boats that they would like to save. Although they achieved a lot of public support for the proposed project, as far as we know it was the complexity of the application process that is delaying the bid. We know that applying for help from the Heritage Lottery Fund can be an expensive and time consuming process. There is also the match funding requirement, where sponsors are usually required to top up. This bid is still live and under development as Project Southern Queen independently of any pier project. Mr Stebbings is a time served boat builder and repairer. The pier last operated speed boats from the landing stage on the pier.


BBC NEWS 26 FEB 2014 - A campaign to raise £500,000 has been launched to save the remains of the last two pleasure boats of a 200-year-old industry in Eastbourne.

The Southern Queen and William Allchorn have not run for a number of years because of vandalism and the recession.

The boats, which had taken tourists on trips to Beachy Head lighthouse since the 1950s, are rotting on the beach.

Now boat enthusiast Lloyd Stebbings wants to raise £15,000 to buy them with the rest needed for restoration.
'Last two'

Mr Stebbings, who runs Pevensey Bay marina, said in the industry's heyday there were 113 pleasure boat licences issued in Eastbourne.

He said: "At one point the pleasure boats were moored along the coast from the Redoubt Fortress to the Wish Tower."

"These are the last two remaining and they represent 200 years of pleasure boat history in Eastbourne."

He said the Southern Queen was completed in 1950 and used to take visitors around the lighthouse with her sister vessel, the Eastbourne Queen.

The William Allchorn was a purpose-built pleasure boat, commissioned by the Allchorn Brothers of Newhaven in 1950, and funded by the Ministry of Defence.
'Rare opportunity'

Both boats have many of the original fixtures and fittings including life rafts and masts and rigging.

Mr Stebbings intends to set up a charitable trust and is appealing for private donations as well as corporate sponsorship.

He said he has had almost a dozen people come forward offering to volunteer to help restore the boats.

"This is a very rare opportunity to help or become part of a restoration project to return the boats to the sea and restore some of Eastbourne's pride as a top UK holiday resort," he added.



BBC NEWS 11 MARCH 2003 FUTURE IN DOUBT FOR PIER SPEEDBOATS - Speedboat rides from Eastbourne Pier may have to end because of concerns over the building's safety.

Bluebird Speedboats has operated off the end of the pier for almost 40 years but Eastbourne Pier's owners have ruled the rides can no longer continue.

Storm damage over the years has made the steps leading down from the landing stage unsafe to use.

The speedboat operators have said they will pay to repair the steps.

But Eastbourne Pier has said they will have to apply for planning permission - which could mean waiting up to three months for a decision from Eastbourne Borough Council.

Adam Sadler, of Bluebird Speedboats, said stopping the boat rides was the end of an era.

He said: "I will be out of work and so will the business because there will be no boat here at Eastbourne.

"The nearest speedboat around will be at Littlehampton. We have had boats at West Pier, Palace Pier, Hastings Pier and here.

"This is the last speedboat there is around this area and it will be finished."

Graham Sanderson, general manager of Eastbourne Pier, suggested the operators found a place to store the boats until the steps could be repaired.

He said: "The last thing we want is to kill off the business - they've been on the pier now for 40 years.

"It's not really a case of we don't make anything from it - it's a pound a year rent that we charge for this and it's something that I want to keep, in line with all the other businesses that are traditional to the pier." 





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 Abid Gulzar views his latest purchase, looking for a bright future


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.


SOVEREIGN FM - In an interview with Sovereign FM, the entrepreneur expressed he love for Eastbourne and said the town’s pier was close to his heart.

He added he had already received dozens of messages from well wishers since buying the attraction, which suffered major damage from a fire, last July. Speaking with broadcast journalist Lorraine White earlier, he said:

“I’ve already undertaken some of the jobs and work, so it’s all in hand. Everyday, when [the] weather’s not good, there are some internal jobs and, when we get a bit of sunshine, then there are outside jobs. There are lots of small, small jobs and then there are some major decisions I’m going to make very shortly. I want people to love the pier. I love it. It’s going to be absolutely a landmark and I think people will be very proud. I’m very proud. I’m seriously considering a berth and [having] boats which would sail from there to Beachy Head. We’ll try and bring it make to it’s original glory.”






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:

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."



Council leader David Tutt 


[left] 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 and service cuts. He is of course concerned about these issues and we imagine, trying to sort something out to benefit residents. [right] ROBERT COTTRILL - Was the chief executive officer of Eastbourne Borough Council at the time of writing in 2015. 



'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.

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.




THAT'S OUR GIRL - We are all hoping that Caroline will be able to make a difference to reverse the decline that Eastbourne is currently suffering from - and we love her understated powder blue coat. What we don't want is aerial displays that put the town and its citizens at risk, just to try and drum up some cheap publicity. The tragic Shoreham air crash is a lesson that should be heeded by any responsible council. What we need is some quality in the town and that begins with the Blue Room.






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.



Lions pier at Eastbourne, is that a zoo attraction?


LIONS PIER OCT 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.”  Once upon a time the pier was crammed with people, and we are talking about 50 years ago. Now it is a ghost pier, and bottom of the things to go an see, unless you want a nice cup of tea and a sea breeze, that of course you can get on the promenade. Judging from the new banners gracing the pier entrance, can we expect to see roaring animals wondering up and down the boardwalk, or perhaps in cages. We don't recall that this was a feature in Victorian times.






Eastbourne Herald Gulzar-furious-over-135-000-court-case

Facebook Sheikh Gulzar

Wikipedia The_Hotel_Inspector

Channel 5 shows the hotel inspector

Wikipedia List_of_The_Hotel_Inspector_episodes

Lions Boship Farm Hotel Hailsham

Trip Advisor UK Hotel_Reviews The_Boship_Lions_Farm_Hotel Lower_Dicker_East_Sussex_England

Lion Hotels Limited

Independent UK news we dont want to freeze beside the seaside

Facebook Lord Brett Mclean Hastings

Hastings Observer news local pensioners enjoy free day out

Eastbourne Independent news celebrate_with_the_sheikh_to_help_charities

The Guardian tv and radio 2011 January 21 last-nights planning outlaws

Eastbourne am community
Eastbourne Herald seafront hotel goes up for sale at £3.25 million
Sussex Express UK news county grand opening as vips help celebrate town-s latest hotel

Eastbourne Herald UK news Gulzar furious over £135,000 court case









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