Amusements set to open on Hastings Pier
An amusement arcade containing games machines is set to open on Hastings Pier.
The machines have been delivered onto the site this week and should be open within the next week.
Owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar said: “We promised there would be amusements on the pier, and I am delighted to say they have just arrived.”
However, last June – shortly after buying the pier – Mr Gulzar said he felt there were enough slot machine in the town.
This week he added: “They (the machines) will be sited in the centre building, which used to be the visitors’ centre, and I am convinced they will be very popular.
“A popular amusement arcade must surely be at the heart of any successful pier.”
Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee approved the application for the family amusement arcade on May 1.
During the meeting, several councillors argued the new use of the building would provide additional income for the pier and help secure its long term future.
Matthew Beaver (Con. – West St Leonards) said: “Whether you agree with what is going on the pier or not, the pier has to self-finance itself.
“If it doesn’t then it stops functioning as a pier and we get back to the possibility of it being closed again, which I don’t think does anyone any good.
“If you go to Eastbourne Pier or you go to Brighton Pier, the one thing that attracts people are the amusements.”
In making its decision, the committee heard how the application would not involve any changes to the outside appearance or internal structure of the building.
It also does not allow for adult gambling games, such as slot machines, to be within the building, as the application only sought permission for family amusements.
However, some concerns were expressed with the proposed changes.
Ruby Cox (Lab – Central St Leonards) said: “I am really troubled by this application. I think there are some assumptions being made that I would disagree with.
“The very nature of those machines or of that type of entertainment is it broadcasts itself far and wide, with flashing lights, loud noises and music, to attract children in.
“I cannot see how this could be a self-contained section of the pier with no effect outside.”
Despite these concerns the committee granted the application with five votes in favour and one against.
Three committee members did not take part in the discussions after declaring a personal interest in the item.