James Tovey and Mustafa Abdelhadi, who managed Hastings Pier for a limited season last summer, are back in control under a new three-year lease. The pier will reopen its gates to the public from noon on Monday 12th April – the first day on which Covid lockdown rules are due to be relaxed to allow drinks and meals to be served outdoors. 

The news was announced to Instagram followers last Friday with a confident swagger – “After perhaps the longest and most depressing winter in known memory, the dream of a summer of socialising, dancing, events, live gigs, football & fun looks set to be a reality…We have plans to make [the three] years very memorable for all of us!”

PICTURE: Dave Young

Last year the management pair, operating under the banner of their  existing company Music First Events Limited, hosted a daily beer garden at the far end of the pier accompanied by a series of music events. They opened only in July and closed in September. For their extended return they have formed a new company, Hastings Pier Entertainments Limited, and it is clear that they mean to exercise full control across the length of the decking, including a fresh selection of caterers and other service providers. Gone, in any event, are the gold-painted stuffed animals and other exotica of the unlamented regime of Sheikh Gulzar. 

Mr Gulzar nevertheless remains owner and landlord. It has to be assumed that he will continue to be responsible for necessary repairs and maintenance of the structure beneath the decking, though there has been little evidence of this over the winter. 

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