After completing the purchase of Hastings Pier and overseeing a positive summer period, Sheikh Abid Gulzar has stated that the goal is now to make it a year-round attraction.
Speaking at the weekend Sheikh Abid Gulzar, owner of Eastbourne and Hastings Piers, commented that the long summer has been particularly good for business, but work must now be undertaken to keep footfall up in the winter months.
“Looking at people today on the pier makes me a very happy person indeed,” he said.“The number of visitors we have had this weekend has been very high, and that’s great news. I am assured that people now want to come on Hastings Pier and spend time with us. My team has worked incredibly hard.”
A recurring criticism of the pier’s unsuccessful period of community ownership was the lack of activities and amenities on the award-winning structure, something that Gulzar is already rectifying after just four months in charge.
“My first aim was always to give the pier that extra lift which meant people would want to come on here, and that’s exactly what has happened. Our three eating areas are proving very popular and some visitors are now coming on here every day,” he said.
“It may just be for a coffee or a cup of tea but that’s fine by me. We now have a number of regulars and they add that extra bit of friendliness too.”
Never one to rest on his laurels, as shown by his continued investment at the site, he reaffirmed his commitment not only to the pier itself, but to the entire town of Hastings.
“We have made a start and a good start.There’s plenty more still to be done. I am doing this for the town and I want to create something that is sustainable for the long term. I’m confident we will achieve that. It’s only been four months and in that time a lot has been achieved.”
Meanwhile Gulzar’s Eastbourne Pier is to undergo its latest showpiece investment with the refurbishment of its iconic clock.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It is going to become a very focal, central part of the town which I love so much. I am doing this at a substantial cost but it is for the town and something for residents to be proud of.”
The refurbishment has reportedly been in the pipeline since Gulzar took over the pier in 2015 and he expressed his delight that it will top off what has been a strong summer for the iconic structure.
“The weather has been great and we have welcomed a large number of visitors. It gives me great pleasure being on Eastbourne Pier every day seeing happy people smiling. I’m proud of what Eastbourne Pier is today,” he said