Hastings Pier owner denies rumours of sale

The owner of Hastings Pier has confirmed he has not sold the Grade-II listed structure after rumours circulated.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 3:41 pm
Hastings Pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar SUS-190104-121858001

Sheikh Abid Gulzar, who has owned the pier since June 2018, said he has ‘exciting plans’ which he will make public in the future.

Mr Gulzar’s Lions Group issued a statement on Tuesday (September 29), saying: “The Lions Group can confirm that Hastings Pier has not been sold.

“We have had an excellent summer with very good tenants.

“The entertainment and amusements they provided were widely enjoyed.

“We have more exciting plans for the Pier which will be made public in the near future.”

Over the weekend, rumours began circulating that Mr Gulzar had decided to sell Hastings Pier.

The landmark was registered as an asset of community value last year, meaning the local authority must be informed when the owner intends to sell.

However, Hastings Borough Council said this would not apply if the pier was sold as a ‘going concern’.

On Monday (September 28) a spokesman for the council said: “Hastings Borough Council is aware of the rumours surrounding the pier but has not been advised of any plans to sell it.

“As you know the council do not own the Pier, however we are responsible for enforcing the Asset of Community Value so would expect to be informed if there were plans to sell the pier, and we would be ready to activate the process if the circumstances warranted it. However it is important to note there are some circumstances where the Asset of Community Value would not apply, once of these being if the pier is were to be sold as a ‘going-concern’.”

Hastings Pier was registered as an asset of community value following an application by community group Friends of Hastings Pier, who had intended to buy the pier before it was sold to Mr Gulzar.

Over the weekend, a spokesman for the group said: “We are aware of the rumours of the sale of Hastings Pier.

“The ACV (asset of community value) is still in place, this gives the community the first option to bid. The owner has a duty to inform HBC (Hastings Borough Council) of any intention to sell and we have confirmed that as of last week they have received no notification.

“We are following up to clarify the situation and will respond to the facts as we find them.”

Hastings Pier Amusements, who had been operating there this summer, said they would not be back next year ‘as the pier has new owners’.

The pier’s current operator Music First Events will remain in place until October 4, when their tenure is due to end.

However, no live music or DJ sets will be held during that time, following recommendations from Hastings Borough Council after reports an event, held on the pier, was ‘not managed in an entirely Covid-secure way’.