Hastings Pier will reopen on Monday according to its owner.
And Sheikh Abid Gulzar has reassured the town that he and his team remain 100 per cent committed to the town’s Victorian, award-winning pier.
This morning he has asked the community ‘to bear with him’ in his bid to make the iconic site a huge success.
Mr Gulzar said: “I was, am and will always be very confident about the successful future of Hastings Pier. We have advertised both for staff and people interested in hiring our units and we were swamped by the response, which is very pleasing.
“I understand and respect that the people of Hastings want to see the pier open again none more so than I.
“It has been a difficult period but the time for negativity has gone and I must look forward to making this pier a success.
“I said when I bought it that I would make it a success and I will. Make no mistake, sustaining the pier was never going to be easy but I was, and remain, happy to take on the challenge.”
Mr Gulzar says he was disappointed at the weekend to hear what he describes as ‘comments of concern’ from local MP Amber Rudd and Hastings Borough Council Peter Chowney, he says: “It was under their watch that the pier went into administration in the first place.
“I respect them both and their positions, but I really want to hear how they can assist me. They must realise the real challenges of making Hastings Pier viable.
“I want to hear from people who want to join me in making the pier work, not those who just want to moan.”
He says of Eastbourne Pier, which he bought three years ago that it is ‘beautiful’ and the town ‘loves it’.
“I politely remind people of the troubled past of Hastings Pier and the fact that it went into administration,” says Mr Gulzar.
“Everyone must understand this. The business model of Hastings Pier before I bought it was very poor, that is obvious to everyone.
“To this very day, I cannot believe what happened to the £14 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. But that is all in the past. I want to focus on the present and indeed the future.
“The pier is reopening and it will be there for the people to visit, enjoy and also to respect. I will put my heart and soul into making the pier a success.”