As expected, the gold can stay on Eastbourne Pier – providing nothing else gets the Midas touch.
Sheikh Abid Gulzar appeared before the Borough Council’s planning committee last night (20 September) to put his case forward as to why his paintwork should be allowed to stay. The controversial hotelier, known for his love of all things gold, had to apply for retrospective after going ahead with the work, without having the proper permits in place.
Heritage groups were angry at the move, saying it has destroyed part of the Grade II* landmark’s character.
One of those opposed to the gold, was ex Chair of the Planning Committee Rebecca Madell from Old Town, who address the chamber saying, “Some people say the pier now looks more fun. It would be fun to paint Buckingham palace in fluorescent pink. It would be fun to paint a beard and moustache on the Mona Liza. It might be momentarily fun, but it is also criminal damage.
“If we are not prepared to protect our Grade II* Listed pier from one man's obsession with painting everything gold, then I ask you, where will this stop?
“I most strongly suggest that you refuse this application.”
However, despite objections, permission was granted with a majority vote of 5 to 3, with the conditions Mr Gulzar refrains from further paintwork without the proper permissions and that the gold roof over the restaurant be painted back to a more neutral colour. The Sheikh has already adhered to the latter condition, with the roof now white.