Piers are vital to our economy

I am sending this letter to you in my capacity as a business leader representing the county of East Sussex with particular interest in Hastings and Eastbourne primarily because both boroughs are revamping their piers.

Hastings Pier with its Heritage Lottery Fund of £11.4m (Guardian newspaper 19-11-12) as part of its £14.2m rebuild and Eastbourne Pier with the backing from a private hospitality group operated under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Abid Gulzar.

Following a recent site visit to Eastbourne Pier I can clearly see that The Lions Hospitality Group under Mr Gulzar have undertaken major cosmetic refurbishments and some minor structural improvements using their own resources.

I can’t help but wonder what happened to the £2m cash boost promised by Her Majesty’s Government when the prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer visited Eastbourne as featured in the national media headlines such as:

The Independent “PM to announce £2m boost for Eastbourne Pier after devastating fire 01-04-14);

The Guardian “Downing Street Gives £2m to rebuild Pier” 01-08-14);

ITV Meridian “PM visits Eastbourne to announce £2m Pier Fund” 01-08-14);

ITV website “Eastbourne Pier receives £2m from Government” 01-08-14); and

Eastbourne Herald “How will town’s £2 million Pier Cash be spent?” 01-03-15.

Obviously, when one reads the above mentioned articles (featured currently on the world wide web) and not just the headlines it clearly reads that the monies donated by Downing Street are specified for the general tourism of Eastbourne with specifics aimed at the redevelopment of Eastbourne Pier following the devastating fire.

The National Piers Society state that Eastbourne Pier is the third best Victorian 
Pier of its kind located within the United Kingdom, 
given this fact one would automatically assume that such an iconic tourism structure would receive substantial 
support from the local authority.

It is fair to remind readers that the closure of the Hastings Pier had a negative impact on the local business community and tourism industry of both Hastings and St Leonards.

Therefore Eastbourne Borough Council should be helping to support Eastbourne Pier given the fact that the Sunshine Coast would not look so sunny without a fully-functional visitor-attracting pier and therefore should be more fort coming with a major percentage of the £2m to assist with the refurbishment of the Lions People’s Pier.

Brett Mclean

Locate East Sussex

Chairman 1066 Federation of Small Businesses

Member Team East Sussex

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