Under new commercial ownership, the National Piers Society believes Hastings Pier is well placed to capitalise on a strong UK tourism economy.
he National Piers Society has said that Hastings Pier is set to have a bright future after meeting with the new owner to discuss future plans for the troubled attraction.
Chairman Tim Wardley travelled to the south coast resort last week to sit down with Sheikh Abid Gulzar and talk about how to bring the kind of attractions that will make the pier a viable tourism proposition in the 21st century.
Gulzar, also owner of Eastbourne Pier, was announced as the new owner of the award-winning, Grade II-listed structure in June.
Describing the meeting as positive, Wardley said: “Progress can hopefully be made at last in bringing together key professionals and service providers from the leisure and tourism sectors to give the pier the chance to thrive and play a major contribution to the tourist economy of the town, drawing overseas and domestic visitors to the town with high quality leisure attractions.
“With recent major investment in many of the UK’s seaside piers, including
ing the recent £4m new visitor attractions at Clacton and the multi-million pound award winning RockReef and zip line at Bournemouth, Hastings is well placed to capitalise on the multi-billion pound a year UK tourist economy.”
Wardley also said that some of the criticism Gulzar had received on social media since he purchased the pier was not justified.
He explained:“Hastings Pier is embarking on its new chapter under com- mercial ownership which understandably creates emotion and can draw
“Constructive criticism is healthy, but the situation is not helped by a vocal minority who appear openly hostile to Mr Gulzar’s efforts to improve the fortunes of the pier.
“The focus should be on everyone working together in the interests of the pier and the town, as noted in the National Piers Society press release issued upon news of the pier’s sale.”
Last week also saw the opening of the first new facility on the pier under Gulzar’s ownership:an ice cream hut. It is selling ice creams for £1 under an introductory offer aimed at attracting a high volume of customers seeking refreshment during the summer heatwave temperatures that the UK is experiencing.
Gulzar told local press: “I am keen to get new attractions onto the pier as soon as possible. It’s summer and I want visitors, both locals and tourists, to have the best possible experience.”
Hastings Borough Council said it had not received a listed building planning application for the hut and expects to receive it within 30 days.