The owner of Hastings Pier claims he was misquoted by a daily newspaper in which he reportedly said there were ‘no high cultured people’ in the town.
In the Daily Telegraph article, published on Saturday (May 18), Sheikh Abid Gulzar was quoted after he was angered by comments by award-winning architect Alex de Rijke.
Mr de Rijke, whose firm dRMM helped rejuvenate the pier after it was awarded £11.4million from the lottery, said Mr Gulzar’s plans to install an amusement hall on the pier ‘went against the centre’s original purpose’ and would encourage children to gamble.
Mr Gulzar was quoted in the Telegraph saying: “You cannot differentiate among people. There aren’t high culture people around here. There are ordinary housewives and greengrocers that use the pier. We want to attract families, young children and old people.”
Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said she was ‘shocked’ to hear local residents described in that way.
On Monday (May 20), a spokesman for Mr Gulzar claimed the pier owner was misquoted, without providing evidence.
He added: “What he actually said was ‘less than one per cent are uncultured and refuse to engage with anyone and anything.
“The people of Hastings are extremely cultured and community orientated. It’s such an honour to work with the community of Hastings and my team and I are committed to making Hastings Pier a destination pier that all residents and visitors can enjoy.”
The Telegraph has been approached for comment.