SHEIKH ABID GULZAR
MARCH 2019 - The public are shut out from their beloved pier. £14,000,000 million pounds of Heritage Lottery Fund money was poured into this icon, to get it back to this condition. Hasting pier was shut in January for what was said to be essential repairs to electrical wiring after a small fire. Delays meant that opening would not be until May, causing marches and a petition by the public to get things moving. What a bargain though. Even with a little fire and structural works to complete. If the pier was only £60,000 (according to the land registry) it would not hurt to spend a few bob more. The cafe alone will bring in enough to cover the initial outlay. There are a lot of unsightly posts at the rear of the pier that need attention. The same applies to Eastbourne pier. Both piers could work together to run pleasure boat trips in the summer if there were the appropriate landing stages, but we doubt that such a service would cover the costs of these works. It would need money to be donated from Mr Gulzar's other business interests.
The flamboyant entrepreneur is famous for controversy in one arena or another. Yes, he is a risk taker, and yes he gets into a few tough scrapes, but he has the courage to step in where others fear to tread. We only hope that he recovers his financial equilibrium to be able to resume his not for profit objectives, for that is surely what running two piers must be like. The closure of Hastings pier has led to a petition to re-open it and a letter from Amber Rudd to local residents expressing concern that this local attraction should be open by May 2019.
BEATLES DAY 2019 - Just over the road from Hastings pier is the famous White Rock Theatre.
News came in January of 2019 Mr Gulzar has been awarded the honorary title of Mister Ocean: Sussex Coastal Heritage Champion for his work in conserving Eastbourne and Hastings piers through 2018.
We understand from a source that it is possible to run both piers and make a handsome return using innovative technology, something that a traditional hotelier may fight shy of. We heard about such plans a few years ago when a charity was in the running for the Eastbourne pier. Unfortunately we are bound by a non disclosure agreement. The not-for-profit had planned attractions the like of which would have pleased the public and Eastbourne and Hastings councils - and the profit and loss account of the operators. It was not to be. But that doesn't mean that the man who loves golden lions could not stage a recovery with something truly amazing like this once the blinkers are off.
THE ARGUS 4 NOVEMBER 2018 - The owner of Eastbourne Pier has invested in a new clock at the entrance to the site. Sheikh Abid Gulzar welcomed around 100 members of the public for the unveiling on Friday.
Also present were Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, council leader David Tutt and Councillor Jim Sheppard, vice chairman of the county council.
TAXES AUGUST 2018 - It appears from the above article by the Hastings Independent that the Inland Revenue are after Mr Gulzar for national insurance contributions. This is not his first scrape with the tax man, and it will probably not be his last. We wonder why he does not settle such sums in sufficient time to avoid any late payment penalties. Surely, paying in arrears is not good business sense? And now disgruntled pier engineers are staging a legal challenge for which they seek crowd funding.
INDEPENDENT 9 NOV 15 - The new owner of Eastbourne Pier has been given a top award by a charity celebrating its 50th birthday in 2015. Sheikh Abid Gulzar has been supporting SASBAH - the Sussex Association for spina bifida and hydrocephalus - for many years. At a business breakfast he was made an Ambassador of SASBAH - and said he was truly delighted and proud. He is pictured being congratulated by Eastbourne Mayor Janet Coles. Rom Sanglaji, CEO of SASBAH, said, 'Mr Gulzar has been an absolute star to our charity with committed support. Our families are very grateful to him.'
This is of course great news. We are though slightly confused where having stated that he would make Eastbourne's pier the best in England, that Mr Gulzar now appears to be saying that he does not have the money himself to do that. He says he is not a millionaire and agrees that is what is needed to rebuilt the fire damaged music pavilion. We are sure that the new owner must have something up his sleeve. We doubt the latest reported murmuring of a £2 charge will make a dent on the £3-4 million needed to give the South Coast the Blue Room back. Not in this lifetime. Mr Gulzar is of course a smooth operator and does a lot of work for good causes, so we remain hopeful. There has been a lot of talk on Facebook. Mr Gulzar benefits from a great sense of humor in good times and bad and has latched onto the "Sheikh's Pier" (Shakespeare) play on words. We love it. Nice one Mr G.
TIMES 12:01AM, October 24 2015 - Seventy years wise and still
looking good. An Indian-born Eastbourne hotelier with a penchant for
rings and stone lions has acquired the seaside resort’s fire-ravaged historic pier and vowed to make it “the best pier in the country”.
WHITE ELEPHANTS - 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, if ever? That is the question everyone is waiting to have answered. The steelworks alone are estimated to cost around £3 million pounds. A landing stage to the rear will cost another seven figure sum and then there is the purchase price, which we guess to be considerably less. All in all restoring this important heritage asset carries a hefty price tag that current trading will not support, hence Mr Gulzar is quoted as saying that it is a white elephant. But then he does have his hotel chain to support good causes, if as it appears, he is minded to donate those profits to this heritage project. Congratulations then to Mr Gulzar on his latest purchase. The whole of Eastbourne is waiting to learn of his plans for the pier that made it onto the At Risk register last year - and again this year.
BBC NEWS 22 October 2015
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.
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.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY - All of us here at the Horse Sanctuary Trust wish Mr Gulzar the very best on his 70th birthday. Thanks also to all of those that joined in the fun to make this a special day to remember.
EASTBOURNE INDEPENDENT, Friday 25 September 2015
HOTELIER - Sheikh-Abid Gulzar will be celebrating his 70th birthday by staging a second charity BBQ to raise money for some of his favourite Sussex charities. In August he welcomed more than 250 guests to the Boship Lions Farm Hotel on the A22 at Hailsham, raising around £1000 for the Polegate-based Children with Cancer Fund and SASBAH (Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus).
Monday 24 August 2015
ESCC ECONOMICS - Lord Brett McLean and Sheikh-Abid Gulzar enjoy a moment or two in the shade.
Chair of Hastings Pensioner’s Association Jean Gillam said, ‘It was a wonderful day. Mr Gulzar was so kind to invite us all. There was a great BBQ, drinks galore, bouncy castle for the children who were there, and a magician, even some belly dancers.
PISTON HEADS Friday 27th July 2012
- SASHA GULZAR
But I know hotel inspector and what angle they come in as to have a bit of
drama, scandal and confrontation. For example the lady Alex who interviewed my father raised her voice to my father and said Mr Gulzar if you carry on treating customers this way it'll be just you staying in this building! My fathers reply was:
"Your family owned a chain of Forte Hotels did they not? How many did you have?"
"We had 40 hotels" she replied, "And today how many do you have?" ,
"2" was the answer. My father then said "so you went from 40 down to 2 and I went from nothing to 5 and in the last 10 years there
hasn't been a year that our turnover hasn't increased at least 10% than the last, I think I know what
I'm doing!" she then went red faced and changed the subject - that bit almost
definitely wont be aired! Anyways will be entertaining to watch nevertheless but
I'm almost certain they will edit it in a bad way! At the end of the day
drama, scandal, confrontation and arguments pull in viewers!
Alex visits Eastbourne and the three-star, 110-bedroom Mansion Lions Hotel. The flamboyant owner, Mr Sheikh Abid Gulzar, dreams of turning the hotel into a four-star establishment. Mr Gulzar describes the hotel’s design as 'rich and good looking, just like myself'; however, Alex soon discovers the hotel’s décor and customer service is desperately lacking.
CHANNEL4 - Planning Outlaws broadcast - During this TV broadcast, that also became a Youtube video about a planning issue on the Pevensey Levels, the gentleman participant above accused Mr Gulzar of flouting the law. Odd that, when his comments were racist and perhaps he should have been prosecuted for inciting racial hatred? We have no issues with the right to share information (freedom of speech), as per Article 10, but that should be compliant with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
Having seen that broadcast, we should correct the gentleman: In planning law all development is lawful until it is challenged successfully with an enforcement notice - and that notice is upheld on appeal. Thus, the owner of the land was simply exercising his right to test a development. This is an Article 8 convention right. We wonder if the fact that the landowner is not native to the UK has anything to do with it? The owner of the land acted strictly correctly in law. The same cannot be said for the vandal that smashed the two ornamental lion statues. Was there a criminal investigation as to the damage to property and what was the outcome?
The comments above and in the actual Youtube video were clearly racist remarks. You can no longer see the Youtube video online, most probably because of that. The gentleman pictured above made what was a planning issue into a sovereign issue that appears to have spread to Wartling Parish Council and even infected Greg Barker, the MP who it seems urged Natural England and/or Wealden District Council to take action. Wealden DC are of course serial abusers of Human Rights and hypocrites in planning terms, enforcing against a development when there is an owner they want to victimize, but granting permission on greenbelt to an owner they want to do a favour. Where's Robin Hood when you need him?
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. After fighting the fire through the night, fire officers eliminated the main 'hotspots', and saved two thirds of the pier with the main arcade being the only large building affected. The outer pavilion was not reached by the fire.
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.
EASTBOURNE HERALD 11 AUGUST 2015
A local hotelier has revealed his interest in
buying the fire-ravaged and iconic
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.
Jimmy Keeley, who runs Bobster’s gift shop, on Terminus Road is quoted as saying “We are down 45 per cent on last year for the Easter weekend.” His shop is decked out with all the staples of the traditional British seaside holiday: buckets, spades, windmills and a handsome array of dubious postcards. Working with his nephew Michael, he opened little more than a year ago and has seen things get progressively worse since. His chief nemesis has been the weather, but the Olympics didn’t help either. Fears of overcrowding meant that tourist numbers were down 5 per cent last summer, and of those who did come to the UK, few diverted from their Olympic itinerary to visit humbler destinations such as Eastbourne. The Keeleys and their supplier, Ricky Webster, who often pops in for a chat, are also slightly sceptical about reports of the rise of the staycation.
THE PIER SEPT 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,” theorises the elder Keeley. “So overall it’s been the same.” But this year has been a shocker. Mr Webster, who supplies more than 250 gift shops like Bobster’s all along the south coast and has been in the business for years, said he has never seen an Easter weekend so bad. He is down 80 per cent on last year, because the shops he supplies just aren’t selling their wares fast enough. “There was a time when we wouldn’t worry about a bad spring,” he said. “You could always rely on the summer. With the past two summers we’re not too sure. But my old boss used to say: ‘The bucket-and-spade business is recession-proof – all it takes is for the sun to come out and you’re selling again.’ ” [But is that all it is - we doubt it - there is a perceived lack of vision from the local authority. If you are not moving forward, you are going backwards. Other south coast havens like Portsmouth in Hampshire and Plymouth in the West Country are plowing ahead.]
Gulzar is quoted as saying: “The pier has lots of problems and lots of major works which have to be done. It does
need a lot of love, of that there is absolutely no doubt."
COMMENT: Full marks to Mr Gulzar for even considering taking on the pier. If anyone can restore this heritage asset and perhaps some of the lost confidence in the town, it could well be him.
EASTBOURNE HERALD 1 FEB 2014
The Chatsworth Hotel on
Eastbourne seafront has been put up for sale with a £3.25 million price tag because its owner says he is fed up with the town and the local council.
THE MANSION - One place where things are stable is the Mansion Hotel on Eastbourne’s promenade, owned by Sheikh Abid Gulzar – a man who wears his wealth on his sleeve with three golden rings and a gold-trimmed black Land Rover, but has a passion for the simple joys of a British seaside holiday. His customers – mostly elderly people and coach parties – appear not to be so worried about the weather. “Our visitors love a good breakfast, a warm room, a good English dinner and a 1960s sing-song in the evening. I love it too,” he is quoted as saying. “We will not be praying to God for better weather. We’ll just do our job, and He’ll do his. I said to some English visitors recently – don’t knock the English weather, it’s the only country in the world to have green grass all year.” Now all hopes rest on the coming summer, but many remain doggedly optimistic. Eastbourne is not a town low on confidence. Then the pier caught fire in 2014.
“I have had my run-ins with them in the past and I acknowledge that, but they make absolutely no effort to engage with Lion Hotels in a positive way – and I think they should. I’m not asking for them to come to me begging for co-operation but the constant negativity and nit-picking from the council really is getting me down, and that shouldn’t be the case.
CHATSWORTH HOTEL 26 SEPT 2014
We like to support annually Macmillan Cancer Relief’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, which normally takes place on the last Friday in September.
Well actually it was a breakfast at the Chatsworth hotel Eastbourne put on by Rotary AM and sponsored by Sheik Abid Gulzar the owner of the Lions Hotel, good to see all the local Rotarians there enjoying themselves and raining £750 pounds for the charity, this was rounded up by Mr. G to a round £1,000.
SWEET RIDE - This Merc has a V8 engine with turbo boost and what looks like a carbon fibre bonnet. It really motors. The gold film is plastic but not single use and it looks rather fetching in our view. Copyright © photograph, October 2015, courtesy of the Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd. All rights reserved. You may not reproduce this picture without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
EASTBOURNE HERALD Friday 10 August 2012
BOSHIP LIONS HOTEL, HAILSHAM
The Boship Lions Farm Hotel offers a choice of one-bed, two-bed, or standard double room, beautifully decorated with a cozy cottage-feel – all exuding grace and elegance with affordable prices. After an active day of site seeing, shopping, or visiting the beach, guest can choose to take a load off in this brightly coloured, old-school charmer which provides plenty of in-room entertainment for the utmost in relaxation. In addition, guestrooms include standard features such as television, coffee/tea maker, large work desk, direct-dial phone, and en-suite bathrooms well equipped with extra towels, complimentary toiletries, and hairdryer.
Built in 1662, this 47-room 3-star hotel captures the breathtakingly beautiful 15th Century aesthetic – keeping visitors coming back year after year. At The Boship Lions Farm Hotel, there are plenty of opportunities for recreation. Patrons can lounge in the alluring outdoor swimming pool, de-stress in the steam room, revitalize in the sauna, read a book in the garden, take lunch to the picnic area, or exercise in the state-of-the-art fitness centre. What’s more, a generous breakfast served every morning, at no extra charge, and a multi-lingual staff at the 24-hour front desk is always available to give recommendations for local places to eat as well as assist with virtually any guest need. Furthermore, those wishing to unwind with a refreshing cocktail can after an exciting day can simply head to the welcoming in-house bar lounge.
Eastbourne (England) needs entrepreneurs like Mr Gulzar. He is warm and approachable and always willing to listen and help you if he can. Mr 'G', as he is affectionately known by his staff, does a considerable amount of work for charitable causes, some of which may be featured on this page, but most of which goes unsung.
The Sheikh is of course a businessman. As such he provides employment for many people in and around Eastbourne. Like all businessmen he is always looking for ways to improve his operations and for new ideas to turn a profit. Mr Gulzar also likes fast cars. Then again, who doesn't. But he likes to balance his extravagances with a keen eye on conservation issues. Not many people will know that he is an animal lover. You will though if you take a visit to the Boship Farm Hotel near Hailsham.
FARM INSPECTION - The Sheikh visits the Pevensey Levels to see what Natural England have left him. Mr Gulzar is the only farmer to have been hauled over the coals in this region. Other neighboring farmers are allowed their permitted development rights. Not unnaturally, it grieves Mr 'G' that he has been singled out for unfavorable treatment, while everyone else is left alone to run their farms. Many deer died as a result of Natural England not recognizing the ordinary rights of a farmer to protect his animals. Anyone who knows the Sheikh, will know that all he was trying to do was look after his flocks.
It was thus with a heavy heart that Mr Gulzar suffered the loss of several deer as rather shamefully, Natural England set about making life for the would be farmer, intolerable. The policies and actions of what should be an institution that protects animals and upholds the aims of the UK in terms of equality, are questionable to say the least.
Natural England insisted that deer proof fencing was removed, knowing full well that the deer would then escape and that some would die, or even cause difficulties for road users. We wonder then how it was that Natural England were not prosecuted by the RSPCA, for indirectly causing harm to animals? With the fencing gone it was a poachers paradise.
locals invaded the farmland at the Pevensey Levels and damaged a lot of
property and stole vehicle parts, etc., the Police appear to have turned a
blind eye. At least there is no record of the crime being reported, or
what steps they may have taken to investigate the criminal damage.
LINKS & REFERENCE
ALBANY LIONS - These are the stone lions that Mr Gulzar is famous for. We kind of like the gold on white colour scheme. We also like the lions and if you like them there are more to see in Lewes and London in particular. The Royals in days gone by also had a thing for lions. So did the Romans and that cost a Christian or two an arm and a leg. Here kitty, kitty.
Eastbourne Borough Council
1 Grove Rd, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4TW
Cuerden Leisure Limited
Unit 1 Hillridge Road
Martland Mill Industrial Estate, Martland Park
Wigan WN5 0LS
Tel : +44 (0) 1942 210860
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