Eastbourne Pier owner blasted for painting parts of it gold

Owner hits back at critics following complaints

Eastbourne Pier owner blasted for painting parts of it gold

The owner of Eastbourne Pier has been blasted for painting parts of it gold.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar, 70, bought the pier last year and has angered some locals by painting parts of the Grade Two listed building gold, including the cupola (or dome), and 40 lions on the original ironwork.

Natural England and Eastbourne Borough Council have now stepped in after complaints.

Mr Gulzar has spoken out about the incident, saying he doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

According to the Argus, he said: "I have put my heart and soul into this pier. I have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds, yet still there is a minority of people who want to have a pop at me.

"Does it get me down? Well, sometimes it does but I know that I must rise above it. I am working seven days a week making Eastbourne Pier better."

The Eastbourne Herald reports that he added: "This weekend just gone was the second anniversary of the devastating fire on the pier. I fear that some people may have a short memory.

"I made a pledge when I bought the pier I would make it great again - and that is what I am going. It is taking a lot of time and costing a lot of money.

"I couldn't see a queue of people at the time fighting to take on the pier. Well I did, and I did because I love Eastbourne, and I love the pier.

"Am I really doing something so badly wrong? I think not. I am putting a bit of character into the pier with the gold - it's not like I have painted the whole pier gold for heaven's sake - and most people tell me how nice it all looks."

He added that the footfall on the pier has tripled since he bought it.

The Indian-born businessman owns several hotels, and has sold the Chatsworth Hotel to fund the project.

Historic England has halted further work until Mr Gulzar obtains permission by submitting a retrospective planning application to Eastbourne council, according to the Telegraph.

Eastbourne Pier first opened in 1870 and is seen as one of Britain's most historic piers.

Britain's most iconic piers in pictures

Britain's most iconic piers in pictures