Plugged in and ready to go! Will machines be the heart of a successful Hastings Pier?

“A popular amusement arcade must surely be at the heart of any successful pier.”

Walking on Hastings Pier this afternoon it was clear that the amusement arcade is ready to open its doors to paying customers.

Through the windows of the former visitor centre it was clear to see the machines were all plugged in and switched on with lights flashing ready to entice the public to come on to the pier and spend their money.

The machines for the long-awaited ‘family entertainment centre’ were seen arriving earlier this week and have now been installed.

Machines are plugged in and ready to go.

Pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar said: “We promised there would be amusements on the pier, and I am delighted to say they have… arrived.

“Sited in the centre building, which used to be the Visitors’ Centre, I am convinced they will be very popular,” he said. Adding: “A popular amusement arcade must surely be at the heart of any successful pier.”

Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee approved the application for the family amusement arcade at its meeting on May 1st.

During the meeting, several councillors made the point that the new use of the building would provide additional income for the pier and help secure its long term future. West St Leonards Councillor Matthew Beaver said: “Whether you agree with what is going on the pier or not, the pier has to self-finance itself.

“If it doesn’t then it stops functioning as a pier and we get back to the possibility of it being closed again, which I don’t think does anyone any good.

“If you go to Eastbourne Pier or you go to Brighton Pier, the one thing that attracts people are the amusements.”

Not so attractive for pier customers this afternoon were locked toilets while others were marked ‘out of order’. When one member of Hastings In Focus staff tried to buy a drink at the bar she was told by a member of the pier’s bar staff said: “It’s too hot… I wish everyone would just go home.”

8 thoughts on “Plugged in and ready to go! Will machines be the heart of a successful Hastings Pier?

  1. Not sure that Mr Gulzar ever promised amusements. He certainly did not promise them from day one – in fact he promised the exact opposite back in July 2018 when in an interview with the Hastings Observer:

    Observer: “What are your plans for the pier?”

    Gulzar: “I think there are enough slot machines in the town but we will definitely like to do some build-up like another unit”

    I don’t believe this commitment was ever serious. I believe it was always the intention to have slot machines. Indeed within a few weeks of this interview a permit had already been obtained for amusement machines.

    A couple of months after the interview and after the permit had been obtained Gulzar claimed that he would introduce amusements following “public consultations” which were in favour of amusements. It is unclear who (if anybody) was consulted. A similar tactic was used in Eastbourne a couple of years ago to justify changes to Eastbourne pier.

  2. Sad, tacky, pathetic, outdated and typically lacking in even a shred of imagination or care for the pier or the people of Hastings. Take anything this owner says with a massive pinch of salt as he is as tricky as a slippery eel. One day “Hastings has enough arcades” and the next “Oh look we have an arcade” RUBBISH! DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!

  3. I probably won’t use them. But if people want to have a punt, let them. Time will tell if they are popular or not. At least the monstrosity of a building is back in use.

  4. I am afraid the toilets have been a problem since Mr Gulzar acquired the pier. The visitor centre and its toilets were closed to the public and only the toilets in the sheds were left open. There have been complaints on Tripadvisor about the toilets.

    Mr Gulzar appears obsessed with the idea that people are coming onto the pier just to use his toilets for free. In an interview with Radio Sussex in January he says “people are full of wanting to criticise, condemn, how much they can have anything free, how, I have a person cleaning the toilets the whole street they come and use the toilets and we are cleaning “. Given the state of them I would prefer to use the beach myself!

    He has been quoted as saying that campaigners//FOHP are deliberately leaving the toilets in a bad and dirty condition. There are claims that the toilets have been vandalised and photos posted of broken toilets.

    Many people will judge a venue (especially one that sells food) by the quality and cleanliness of its toilets. The pier leaves much to be desired on this count.

  5. I have overheard certain ex employees/ volunteers laughing about deliberately blocking the toilets and damaging the facilities. Shameful behaviour.

  6. The Pier is an ongoing omnishambles. The Council propose ‘dialogue’ no matter what the pile up of offences: no permission for signage or speakers, non-compliant café tariff notices.
    Now there are gaming machines in the shop area of the central building. There is no planning permission for this. Where is the Council’s enforcement?
    The icecream shed got away with retrospective permission but the repeated contempt shown for due process is marked. The Pier owner is pulling the Council’s chain — and they’re letting him..

  7. Whatever your views on Mr. Gulzar’s designs on our pier the fact remains that he was not given planning consent to put these archade machines in the shop area. So once again he has decided to ignore the planners decision and undoubtedly he will get away with this as nobody within the council seems to want to challenge this man. The council is playing a very dangerous game here because bit by bit this man will install anything he wishes to install and ultimately it will be too late for anything to be done. Any lawyers will simply say Hastings Council has not proceeded with any enforcement action so we can only assume that the council are quite happy with what this man is doing. A pretty sad situation all round.

  8. Why is the owner of the pier seemingly able to flout all planning issues on the pier? This is a Listed Building and requires specific consents. He has installed the gaming machines in an area where no consent has been granted, he has installed garish signages and lighting where no consent was granted, he has installed a speaker system where no consent was granted…and so it goes on. Why isn’t Hastings council’s enforcement department taking immediate action???? They have been made aware of all the breaches by many people and yet still no action? Are they in awe of this man who owns our pier?

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