The owner of Eastbourne Pier wants to buy a bandstand after a bid for £26 million of levelling up funding was rejected last week.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar said it was “terribly sad” to see Eastbourne Bandstand closed down last year and said he will “invest heavily” to restore the Grade II* listed structure.

He is calling on Eastbourne Borough Council to sell the bandstand to him after a levelling up bid was rejected by the government last week.

Sheikh Gulzar said he is not interested in the “political squabbling” and wants to get the 88-year-old bandstand back to its best for the tourist town.

He said: "It was terribly sad to see Eastbourne bandstand closed for the whole of 2022 because it is in such a poor state.

"That cannot be right in a popular tourism town like Eastbourne.

"It was obviously disappointing that Eastbourne Borough Council failed in its levelling up bid to restore the bandstand.

"The council has been honest - it does not have the money to restore the bandstand properly.

The Argus: Sheikh Gulzar bought Eastbourne Bandstand in October 2015Sheikh Gulzar bought Eastbourne Bandstand in October 2015

"So give me the bandstand and I will invest heavily in it."

Sheikh Gulzar bought Eastbourne Pier in October 2015 after it was damaged by a massive fire in July of the previous year.

Two million pounds was given in a grant from the government to help with these repairs.

Mr Gulzar is listed as a director of 11 companies, three of which have dissolved or gone into liquidation, according to the Companies House website.

He added: "There had been a huge fire and the pier was a ruin.

"I have invested huge sums of money into the pier and look at it now, everyone loves it.

The Argus: Eastbourne BandstandEastbourne Bandstand (Image: The Argus)

"I will do the same for the bandstand. I have the money and I know exactly what needs doing.

"I am not interested in all the political squabbling and who is right or wrong.

"This is about the future of Eastbourne, our beloved town, and I am ready for this challenge."

Following the rejection of the levelling up bid, the council said £750,000 would be allocated for repairs and maintenance of the bandstand before it opens in April.

Sheikh Gulzar is hoping the council will meet him as soon as possible.

The council said it would not be commenting on the suggestion.