Hotelier faces a 135,000 bill after damaging protected conservation

Sheikh Abid Gulzar (chair of Lion Hotels) has been fined £45,000 and ordered to pay 90,000 after being found guilty of damaging a protected conversation site on Pevensey Levels.

Gulzar was taken to court by Natural England following the discovery, after a series of damaging activities – none of which he had been given consent to.

The Herald has confirmed this week, from Gulzar, that an appeal has now been placed at Lewes Crown Court.

Mr Gulzar told the Herald ‘I remain very shocked, saddened and disappointed by the decision to land me with a bill of such a massive amount’.

It is said that Sheikh, 68, was particularly upset because he was unwell at the time of the case going ahead, he had hoped the case would be adjourned until he was better. He also commented on the costs being so high, he has claimed ‘I am at a loss and seeking an explanation’.

Mr Gulzar employs around 170 staff at his four hotels and is also very supportive of charities. ‘I have had amazing support in terms of letters, emails and phone calls from the community’ he had said, and remains hopeful that the appeal will run smoothly.

Gulzar, a man who respects the law has never been convicted of anything before and has claimed he must fight to be cleared.

A date is yet to be set for the appeal.

By Francesca Sloan

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