The chairman of the National Piers Society met with the new owner of Hastings Pier this week to discuss future proposals for the popluar attraction.
Tim Wardley was in town on Tuesday to meet Sheikh Abid Gulzar and discussed ways to bring 21st century attractions to Hastings Pier under its new commercial ownership.
After the meeting, Mr Wardley said: “Progress can hopefully be made at last in bringing together key professionals and service providers from the leisure and tourism sectors to give the pier the chance to thrive and play a major contribution to the tourist economy of the town, drawing overseas and domestic visitors to the town with high quality leisure attractions.
“With recent major investment in many of the UK’s seaside piers, including the recent £4 million new visitor attractions at Clacton and the multi million pound award winning RockReef and zip line at Bournemouth, Hastings is well placed to capitalise on the multi billion pound a year UK tourist economy.”
Mr Wardley also addressed the criticism Mr Gulzar has received on social media since he purchased the pier.
He said “Hastings Pier is embarking on its new chapter under commercial ownership which understandably creates emotion and can draw criticism.
“Constructive criticism is healthy, but the situation is not helped by a vocal minority who appear openly hostile to Mr Gulzar’s efforts to improve the fortunes of the pier. The focus should be on everyone working together in the interests of the pier and the town, as noted in the National Piers Society press release issued upon news of the pier’s sale.”
Mr Gulzar said he was pleased to welcome Mr Wardley.
He said: “Tim has a huge amount of knowledge and experience about making piers successful.
“He is very welcome onto Hastings Pier. He can see what progress has already been made.
“Yes, we are only at the start of a long and exciting journey and I welcome his advice on these matters.
“We must all be positive with no hurdles. I will make Hastings Pier great again and something for the town to be proud of.”