I read the results of Brighton Pier Group in Propel earlier this week and it took me back quite a few years to my invaluable time at the Noble Organisation helping to develop their clubs and licensed premises with my late boss, friend and mentor John Holton. Back then the approach within the organisation to any development was without fail, quality, quality, quality. Retail and building standards in the Company had to be of the highest order. Attention to detail and the customer experience were in the Noble Organisation’s NDA.

We were responsible for the original trading set up and the retail development of Horatio’s Bar and the Palm Court Cafe & Restaurant. I remember that The Palm Court made the national press when we launched with its grand piano, harpist, palm tree and Victorian uniforms! Even then, the divers were constantly below our feet, welding beneath the waves, improving the structural legs of the Pier as it was being developed and continue to do so.

Of course, these retail outlets have developed further over the intervening 30 years and the retail offer has evolved, but it was pleasing to see that they have survived in name and are thriving in their latest iteration. Long may their success continue.

Propel extract 23rd September 2019; Chairman Luke Johnson added: “This financial year marks another milestone in the life of Brighton Palace Pier with the celebration in May 2019 of its 120th anniversary. This iconic structure is part of Brighton’s heart and we at The Brighton Pier Group are proud to be its current custodian. Since our acquisition of the pier in 2016, we have spent nearly £2 million maintaining its substructure and this year’s annual structural report has confirmed that the steelwork under the deck is in its best condition for many years. Our investment will ensure the future of this landmark for many years to come. Since the acquisition, we have invested a further £2.9 million on capital projects such as the full refit of the bars and catering facilities, soft play in the Dome, the new Dolphin Derby, new machines for the arcades, new children’s rides and new catering offers such as pizza, rice and noodles, frozen yogurts and new fish and chip takeaway shops for the busier periods. This year’s results show in particular the impact of last year’s investment in the upgrades to the Palm Court restaurant and Horatio’s Bar with sales up 17% versus the prior period

First published 24th September 2019