The character of this national monument could be totally destroyed by changing the traditional lead look to gold


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.



Golden painted camera abscura dome Eastbourne pier


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.



Sheikh Abid Gulzar says he has signed papers to buy the pier


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”.

People have been posting photos of Abid Gulzar’s gold coloured car parked in disabled bays in a supermarket car park and on double yellow lines in Eastbourne.

The Facebook group which highlights inconsiderate parking in Eastbourne has more than 7,000 members and posts photos of parking in inappropriate places on the page.

After scores of people posted comments on Mr Gulzar’s parking, the hotelier, who bought Eastbourne Pier for an undisclosed amount before Christmas, told the Herald, “It was a genuine mistake.”

He also said, “Please also note, I am very sad and hurt to read some of the comments which were of very abusive and racial in nature.

“It only makes me question again where the society and our young generation is heading to. I have always believed Eastbourne to be my home and ‘til my last day will continue to work hard and keep investing in this town for its betterment.

“If the few abusive people feel that my confidence or commitment will be dampened by their remarks they can forget about it.

“I have the support of the majority who appreciate my hard work and I will continue to do so. The improvements I have made on the pier are already visible and I am thankful to local people who commends and supports me for it.”


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. 





Application Reference 160872
Historic Application Reference

Application Description Listed Building consent for: Painting of 2no. Domes (primer undercoat layer and gold metallic outer layer). Retrospective Listed Building Consent also required for: Repair and Painting of roof to ‘Waterfront’ bar/restaurant (primer undercoat layer and gold metallic outer layer); Painting Lion detailing on 49no. lamp posts (primer undercoat layer and gold metallic outer layer); Painting 13 Domes and Pinnacles (primer undercoat layer and gold metallic outer layer).

Received Date 27/07/2016
Valid Date 28/07/2016

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.





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,

We should like you to lodge our formal objection and to please allow a representative of our charity to speak to the members, time allowing.

The pier is a national monument that should properly be kept as near to the as-built appearance as possible.

The whole point of listed planning consent is to ensure that changes to the external appearance of a protected building are in keeping with the visuals when it was listed.

The pier is not a place of worship. Gold on a dome is symbolic of a place of worship such as the Dome of the Rock (Temple Mount), Jerusalem, or the Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar in Malaysia and others.

We feel that a change of appearance to include gold as the theme to blend in with other buildings on the seafront that are owned by the applicant, is an unwelcome departure from the traditional look of Eastbourne seafront, (possibly and maybe even unconsciously) to reflect the religious beliefs or other empire building agenda of the applicant, would be a departure from conservation practices that would set an undesirable precedent that would be most unwelcome and may well have a long term effect on the character of Eastbourne.

Stemming from that the precedent so set may spread to other historic coastal towns, where the heritage of the country is an important asset from the point of view of tourism, that is largely dependent on our historic buildings being substantially as they were when constructed.

As a conservation group, we were interested in purchasing the pier from Cuerden Leisure, only to be able to restore the Blue Room and then to form a community company specifically to generate funds to keep the pier safe in terms of future funding for sympathetic upkeep, etc.

We have offered to work with any owner or group who might be interested in restoration on a not for profit basis - including the applicant.

The fact that we are interested in working to preserve our coastal heritage should not be seen as the reason for lodging objection to the present application, which is that the proposed change is not appropriate in our opinion.

Yours faithfully,

Cleaner Ocean Club Ltd
(a not for profit organization)


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.



Cadiz cathedral cupola

CADIZ CATHEDRAL - The One of Cádiz's most famous landmarks is the cathedral, a beautiful gold domed building with a stupendous bell tower. It sits on the site of an older cathedral, completed in 1260. It burned down in 1596. The reconstruction, which was not started until 1776, was supervised by the architect Vicente Acero, who had also built the Granada Cathedral. Acero left the project and was succeeded by several other architects. As a result, this largely Baroque-style cathedral was built over a period of 116 years, and, due to this drawn-out period of construction, the cathedral underwent several major changes to its original design. Though the cathedral was originally intended to be a baroque edifice, it contains rococo elements, and was completed in the neoclassical style. Its chapels have many paintings and relics from the old cathedral and monasteries from throughout Spain.




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.



DAILY 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. 

Now, however, the 70-year-old finds himself in deep water after upsetting traditionalists in the seaside town of Eastbourne, East Sussex. 

After already banning fishermen, picnickers and dog walkers, it is claimed the latest development in his plans to make the 150-year-old pier the town’s main attraction is a step too far.

Mr Gulzar has painted parts of the Victorian structure, which is a listed building, in his favourite colour gold. 

That matches his Mercedes and jewellery very nicely but his failure to seek permission for the makeover has also been badly received. 

The entrepreneur and selfstyled “sheikh”, who came to the UK from India more than 50 years ago, could now be ordered to restore the landmark to its original, more sedate blue and white colour scheme. 

Mr Gulzar, who owns several hotels, bought Eastbourne Pier last year for a song following a devastating blaze in 2014.

Firefighters battled for days to keep the flames from engulfing the whole structure but it suffered serious damage and there were fears it could fall into ruin like Brighton’s West Pier along the coast. 

Mr Gulzar announced his purchase by hanging a banner at the exit of the landmark proclaiming, “Thank you for visiting Sheikh’s Pier!” 

It was in a “shocking” state when he took over the reins, he adds. 

He claims to have spent £700,000 on renovations and increased visitor numbers four fold.

Another of his proposals is for a casino, while he is also keen to launch champagne boat trips. 

“If I had not stepped in the pier would have fallen into the sea,” says Mr Gulzar who is defiantly unapologetic about the paint job. 

“It shines most beautifully in the sun and stands out from miles away.” 

Work started on the 1,000ft pier in 1866 but it has endured a chequered history recently. 

After the fire it was bought by a leisure company that received insurance money for the restoration.

But the new owners sold it to Mr Gulzar before the work was finished for a reported £1million. 

At the time he said it was his intention to make Eastbourne Pier “great again”. 

Yet there were soon mutterings after he let slip that he could introduce a £2 entrance fee. 

Mr Gulzar adds: “The gas lamps are gone. Piers have to move with the times and become modern attractions. 

“You can’t always look backwards and most people are very happy with the renovations carried out.

“Nobody else was willing to take on the challenge but unfortunately, there will always be a few people who complain. 

“What do they expect? A referendum on the colour? 

“I have put my heart and soul into this project. Now on most days the pier is jam-packed. 

“On a sunny weekend day we have 8,000 visitors. 

“This weekend was the second anniversary of the fire and I fear some people have short memories.

“I have kept my pledge to do something great.” 

Mr Gulzar is proud of his adopted country and arranged for Union flags to fly from the pier. 

In the past he has said he does not want to make money from the pier but simply create a stunning landmark. 

He dreams of winning the Pier Of The Year award, which Eastbourne last held in 1997. 

He says he also wants to help put the town back on the tourist map and banish its undeserved image as God’s waiting room.

The offending gold has been used to highlight ornate lions in the iron railings and the pier’s cupola or dome. 

Mr Gulzar insists he will comply with the rules and has submitted a retrospective planning application to Eastbourne council. 

It will be considered next month but in the meantime a spokesman confirms that Mr Gulzar has been ordered to halt any further work. 

He is accused of taking a cavalier approach.
[Strange, that is what was said of his efforts to create an event venue along the Wartling Road SSSI on the Pevensey Levels.]

“I have nothing against Mr Gulzar but his ideas and methods show a complete lack of respect for the pier, its history and the people of Eastbourne,” says Philip Edwards of the Friends of Eastbourne Pier.

Another opponent, 82-year-old Michael Harris, adds: “Mr Gulzar has got an ego bigger than the pier and is hell-bent on getting rid of activities and pastimes which have been in place for more than a century.” 

Mr Harris is scathing about the banishment of fishermen but the owner claims they were given their marching orders because of the risk of flying hooks and their fondness for drinking cider. 

Nicholas Howell of the Eastbourne Society says: “We keep a keen eye on heritage and would rather Mr Gulzar had not used gold paint.

“However we appreciate that he is trying to add glamour and do something to raise Eastbourne’s profile.”

So far Mr Gulzar is set on a collision course with traditionalists but there is one ray of light for those who are fighting to preserve the past. 

Another of his visions is to revive ballroom dancing on the pier.





BREWERS - 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.

Kevin Dobbs and Tony Guarino, from Brewers, visited the Mansion Lions Hotel on Tuesday morning to hand over a cheque for £250 to Steve Reynolds, director of Lark in the Park – a charity based in Eastbourne which raises funds for local youngsters with special needs.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar – who owns Lion Hotels and two farms – is hosting a charity barbecue on September 15 at his farm in Wartling Road, Pevensey.

Because Mr Gulzar is covering all the costs of the barbecue personally, the £250 from Brewers is going directly into the coffers of the charity.

Mr Reynolds said, “I am so grateful to both Mr Gulzar and also to Brewers – what a great example of two local companies supporting the local community.”


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.


MANASDEEP SINGH - 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: These include: 2000-02-18 2004-07-15 2015-12-04


While Mr Gulzar's son Sasha Abid Gulzar has also been creating and registering the domain names: 2004-09-15 2004-07-15 2000-02-18





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.



EASTBOURNE BUZZ - Sheikh Defends Gold Pier - Monday 1st August 2016

Work to re-paint Eastbourne Pier gold has been stopped. The proper permissions for the project weren't in place, forcing the authorities to step in.

A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council said, "Following discussions with Historic England over the nature of painting being undertaken on Eastbourne Pier, the council contacted the pier owner to put an immediate stop on any further work being carried out.

"The listed status of the pier means that any significant work to it must be covered by a planning permission and listed building consent. Accordingly, the owner of the pier will now need to submit a retrospective application that will be considered by the council’s planning committee."

A spokesperson for Historic England said, “Eastbourne pier is Grade II* listed and it is one of the best historic piers nationally. As such, changes to the structure need consent from the local authority. We understand that the owner has made a retrospective application to Eastbourne Borough Council for the painting carried out so far. We will be advising the Council on whether the changes affect the pier’s historic significance.”

Mr Gulzar, who’s famous around town for his gold Mercedes, started by painting the lion heads gold and the clock faces at the front of the pier, which happened several months ago. In recent weeks, many of the turrets have turned gold, along with the dome covering the camera obscurer and the roof above the restaurant.

The gold-work is now done, but hotelier, Mr Gulzar has applied for retrospective planning permission, which was received by Town Hall last week. Planners could make their decision by the end of the month, depending on how much feedback they receive from residents about the work.

Eastbourne Buzz caught up with the Sheikh earlier today to get his thoughts on the latest situation with the pier.






National Grid Reference: TV6185098847
List entry Number: 1353116





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.




GOLD 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.

The site's significance stems in part from religious traditions regarding the rock, known as the Foundation Stone, at its heart, which bears great significance for Jews and Muslims. It is recognized by all three Abrahamic religions as the site of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his son, although they differ on which son was to be sacrificed. Judaism and Christianity believe it was Isaac, according to the Book of Genesis (Genesis 22:2 NRSV), and Islam upholds that it was Ishmael.










Project address:


Eastbourne Pier

Grand Parade
East Sussex
BN21 3EL


Local authority address:


Eastbourne Borough Council

1 Grove Rd


East Sussex

BN21 4TW

Tel: +44 (0) 1323 831727




Eastbourne pier fire brigade


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 satellite view of Eastbourne Pier


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.



Gold dome on a mosque in Selangor Malaysia


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.





Heritage Lottery Fund

Historic England

Eastbourne Borough Council

Travel AOL UK 2016/08/02 Eastbourne-pier-owner-blasted-for-painting-parts-of-it-gold News UK Eastbourne-Pier-owner-in-trouble-over-gold-touches

Eastbourne Herald Brewers sponsorship boost for charity barbecue event

The Daily Express UK news pier owner who is going for gold angers locals

The Times pier facelift too flashy for Eastbourne





GOLD 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.

Dutch-born van der Smut lost his genitals in an unfortunate smelting (or "schmelting", as he pronounces it) accident in the 1970s and has since been known as "Goldmember". Where his instrument once was he placed a gold key that activates the Preparation H tractor beam. Teaming up with Dr. Evil (Douglas Powers) in 2002, he attempted to kill Austin Powers and flood the Earth.

In the end, though, Goldmember is defeated as he attempts to activate the tractor beam using the key still attached to himself. Austin and Douglas Powers, now working together, reverse the current in the system and electrocute him. Goldmember falls to the deck of the submarine, unconscious or dead. He is not seen in any subsequent shots, which is presumably a parody of defeated villains so often never being heard of again.








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