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THE Eastbourne entrepreneur with a love for gold will be allowed to build 21 new flats on the side of one of his hotels.

But planning chiefs made it clear last night (Tuesday) he will not be allowed to paint them gold.

Sheikh Abid Gulzar owns Eastbourne Pier plus three hotels, two along Eastbourne seafront and one in Hailsham.

The Mansion Lions Hotel currently has 110 rooms and Mr Gulzar applied for outline planning permission to build 21 flats to the side of the building in Hartington Place.

It means there will be 30 less bedrooms, plus a loss of dining and office space.

Mr Gulzar is known for his love of gold, including the very colourful domes on Eastbourne Pier.

Councillor Md. Harun Miah said: “It is not going to be gold again, is it? This is my concern seriously.”

Planning officer James Smith said: “The applicant would not be able to repaint the building without incurring a strong penalty.”

Councillor Robin Maxted said the hotel is up for sale and asked whether the new flats would help any sale go through.

Councillor Barry Taylor said: “It is very sad to lose holiday accommodation because Eastbourne needs to move forward big.”

Councillor Jane Lamb said: “I am pleased this building will be preserved. It is a beautiful building. But I am concerned about no parking.”

The plan was approved by Eastbourne’s planning committee.