MONUMENTAL VANDALISM ?
R.I.P. - Will the pier be another victim of management without the vision or the financial clout to steer a turnaround? Piers generally have become less popular as traditional amusement type where managements have continued to lose money, despite gambling arcade games. Mainly, this is to do with the rapid growth in computer games and home theatre entertainment. The amusements on this pier could not compete, then along came a handy fire, just in the nick of time to stave off yet further losses, then pass the parcel to the next sucker in line and hope to heavens that the council members involved might be persuaded to turn a blind eye to the need for a planning application to restore the fire damaged steelwork from the previous year.
It could be that coming from a different culture, that Mr Gulzar and his family, or his managers, are simply out of kilter with the requirement to keep a national treasure intact - and that includes the colour scheme - or it could be that the gold turrets were once gold in any event. The pier at Eastbourne is not a place of worship or an import from another land, nor is it a fast car to be pimped up to parade around in for a little attention getting (and there is nothing wrong with that) where advertising these days is all important. It is a pier that has remained faithful to the designs of Eugenius Birch ever since it was built with blue and white as the predominant colour scheme and lead, zinc or aluminium roofing (silver/grey) - not gold or gold leaf as one may find in Turkey or Russia.
The roofs of the pier reflect the materials that they were/are made of and were not meant to be tainted with shades of gold or indeed, painted at all. But then in gold they do look kind of fetching - and one wonders that if that was their colour before, why revert to plain lead or zinc? But, and one can imagine that if Historic England had not asked the owner to stop now where he was that things might have gotten our of hand. All the roofs on this nationally important monument would soon be gold, a kind of Nevada-on-Sea, the Las Vegas of England. The fear being that Mr Gulzar would probably take such comments as praise judging by his Mercedes AMG - although black and gold on the car works quite well in our view.
Abid Gulzar is a very charming man and much liked by many in the town. He provides employment for dozens of staff in his hotels along the seafront and at the Boship roundabout near Hailsham and we'd like to help him if at all possible, to tune in to heritage issues should he need a planning advocate's view, much the same way as he tuned into natural conservation issues, once they were pointed out to him by Natural England.
Permission to keep this golden dome was granted in September 2016. Copyright photograph © Cleaner Ocean Club Ltd August 2016. Please ask for permission before reproducing this photograph.
Abid Gulzar employs Manas Singh as one of his managers, with Grand Hotel veteran, Peter Hawley, as the general group manager (according to his Linkedin profile). Another person clearly involved in the obtaining of domain names is Sasha Abid Gulzar the son of Sheikh Abid Gulzar, as we understand it, famous for his Lamborghini lifestyle in years gone by.
Now, according to umpteen media articles, the present owner has decided to paint the pier gold, so pimping up the conservative image that the town of Eastbourne is famous for and radically changing the character of the town and its famous landmark. This is hardly surprising given the present owners penchant for glitter and something that we are sure Eastbourne Borough Council were expecting, but not the public outcry at the change of appearance of their beloved camera obscura. Not to mention the fact that while spending his backers cash on gold paint, no money has been spent to replace the ballroom that was known locally as the Blue Room.
Fortunately, and we are very pleased to be able to congratulate the pier owner on pushing through his plan with eventual blessings from Historic England and we assume, the local authority.
It appears that in days gone by the pier had a gold dome, meaning that this makeover was simply a reversion to what had been replaced before. Technically, in not applying for listed building consent an offence was committed, but given the burden imposed on the new owner, it was deemed inappropriate to prosecute. No harm done. We understand that Mr Gulzar accepted a kind of caution and has agreed to apply for consent if contemplating any more changes. He now owns Hastings pier as well, so expanding his ocean excursions, while also extending himself financially and taking on yet more responsibility and National Insurance liability.
MR GULZAR, 71 - Sheikh Abid Gulzar has such a love of all things gold that he might be compared to Goldmember from Austin Powers rather than Goldfinger from James Bond, we hope without the unfortunate smelting accident! But what about painting the pier gold without planning permission? His managers must surely be some kind of members for that little oversight. We imagine that the glitter guru was not too pleased to be hauled over the coals again, so soon after being fined a whopping £130,000 (or thereabouts) in the Brighton Crown Court for upsetting Natural England and the lapwings that live on the Pevensey Levels a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). Can it be a coincidence that his managers have done it again in such a short space of time, or who is it that is pulling the strings?
EASTBOURNE HERALD 22 JANUARY 2016
- Pier owner hits back after online parking criticism
The flamboyant owner of Eastbourne Pier, who has been criticised on a Facebook page highlighting parking in disabled bays and inconsiderately across the town, says it was “a genuine mistake”.
COMMENT: Parking is not his only problem, speeding in his gaudy chariot is another issue that has reared its head with Sussex Police prosecuting this time.
THE RETROSPECTIVE APPLICATION
Application Reference 160872
Received Date 27/07/2016
Officer Neil Holdsworth
NO TASTE - Quite a number of the general public think that there is a symbol missing from the list of no, nos on the sign warning people not to walk their dog on the pier while eating food bought elsewhere at more reasonable prices.
FORMAL OBJECTION TO PROPOSAL - APPLICATION REFERENCE 160872
Cleaner Oceans Club Ltd
objected to the above application on the following grounds as
an interested person/persons, or group/organization. The space
allowed on the Council's website did not allow us to state our
grounds of objection fully, due to the 2,000 character
limitation - hence was summarized.
Dear Eastbourne Borough Council,
Please return to the Councils web pages to view their planning decision. Alternatively you can call their contact centre on 01323 410000 quoting the planning case reference and our customer advisors will inform you of the decision.
EASTBOURNE PIER FIRE 1970 - With a track record of fires and suspicious circumstances, any new owner who has claimed on an buildings insurance policy previously will have to be extra vigilant to do their utmost to ward off investigation as to fresh claims. Fingers crossed then that there is not another fire on the pier when the financial pressure begins to show.
EXPRESS AUGUST 2 2016 - Looking at the Pier owner who is going for gold angers locals
HIS LOVE of bling has earned Abid Gulzar the nickname
Goldfinger. When the flamboyant hotelier came to the rescue of one of Britain’s most historic piers he was hailed as a knight in shining armour.
Friday 14 September 2012. Kind hearted bosses at Brewers are sponsoring families from the Lark in the Park charity to attend a charity barbecue later this month at Pevensey.
Given the amount of paint that Mr Gulzar uses to keep his three star *** hotels looking better from the seafront than they are as seen from the rear, It's hardly surprising that a decorating merchant or two is somewhere to be seen in the mix. Brewers often stock specialist paints and brushes that are hard to find elsewhere. Do they stock gold paint? We have no idea what brand of paint Mr Gulzar used on the pier.
Copyright photograph © Cleaner Ocean Club Ltd August 2016. Please ask for permission before reproducing this photograph.
PETER HAWLEY - Seen above second from the right, has been the Group General Manager of Lion Hotels in Eastbourne since February 2005 – Present (12-8-16). This included the Albany, Chatsworth, Claremont & Mansion Hotels. He was previously the General Manager at the Grand Eastbourne with De Vere Hotels from 1983 – 1994 (11 years). Not bad going Peter. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/peter-hawley-81a47223
- Is seen in the above photograph on the far right. It is unclear how many years Mr Singh has been with Lions
Hotels, but according to the Registrars he is actively
securing domain names using his email address: email@example.com
While Mr Gulzar's son Sasha Abid Gulzar has also been creating and registering the domain names:
WINDOW DRESSING - All of these embellishments are for nothing if the Lions Hotels group cannot carry the losses from two piers - unless the piers can be made to cover their own upkeep. Built on piles that are constantly lashed by sea spray and waves, they take quite a pounding in terms of corrosion. Copyright photograph © Cleaner Ocean Club Ltd August 2016. Please ask for permission before reproducing this photograph.
- Sheikh Defends Gold Pier - Monday 1st August 2016
HISTORIC ENGLAND LISTING NOTES:
YOU CAN CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE TRADITIONAL VALUES
You can help bring about a change of heart in the present owners/managers by voting with your feet. If you like not having the Blue Room and gaudy gold, then pay the pier at Eastbourne a visit. If you don't like the apathy and lack of effort to restore the fire damaged ballroom, then simply stay away. Alternatively, you could write to your MP and Eastbourne Council, organize a peaceful demonstration, or join in with the social media discussions using common sense and logic to help the Muslim owners to understand the historic responsibility that they (should properly) have taken on - by way of a restoration.
CUPOLA - The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: قبة الصخرة Qubbat al-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע Kippat ha-Sela) is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna. The Dome of the Rock is now one of the oldest works of Islamic architecture. It has been called "Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark," and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with two nearby Temple Mount structures, the Western Wall, and the "Resurrection Rotunda" in the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces. The octagonal plan of the structure may also have been influenced by the Byzantine Church of the Seat of Mary (also known as Kathisma in Greek and al-Qadismu in Arabic) built between 451 and 458 on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Local authority address:
Eastbourne Borough Council
1 Grove Rd
Tel: +44 (0) 1323 831727
FIRE BRIGADE - It took 80 fire fighters to bring the blaze under control. Not though in time to save the music pavilion. Indeed, one could argue that with all the combustible materials consumed, the fire was simply prevented from spreading to other substantial buildings. What then was the pier constructed of to make it burn so fiercely? The south west music pavilion from 1925, seen here as charred wreckage 1925, was an amusement arcade, which had an oval domed zinc roof with a large iron-crested central roof-light and walls with diagonally placed weatherboarding with reeded pilasters and blocked multi-paned sash windows. The north west end had a wide central entrance with round-headed window and cornice and pilasters flanked by smaller entrances with cornices and brackets. The south east end had a tall central entrance with pilasters and oculus. The interior had large segmental arches and Art Deco decoration of floral swags, urns and Vitruvian scrolls. There was a proscenium arch at the south east end with Art Deco motifs, but the stage had been removed.
GOOGLE MAPS - The above is a satellite view from one of the most famous search engine companies. The snapshot was taken in September 2015, but still shows the Blue Room intact.
WOW - We thought this was a picture of Eastbourne pier for a moment, and then we realized that there was not as much gold on this classic as is planned for the Sussex landmark. Viewed by millions as the most stunning and beautiful mosque in all of Malaysia, the Ubudiah Mosque is a true architectural masterpiece. The mosque is located in Kuala Kangsar and was built back in 1917. One of the most recognizable features of the mosque is the many domes, minarets and towers placed to accent the structure. The black, white and gold coloring may have inspired Abid Gulzar to open a can or two of paint.
LINKS & REFERENCE
TACKLE - Johann van der Smut (a.k.a. "Goldmember") is a main villain in the third film of the Austin Powers trilogy, Austin Powers in
Goldmember. He is played by Mike Myers. The character was partially inspired by the
James Bond villain Auric
Goldfinger. He was born in the mid to late 1920s in Holland.