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Leigh's Grand plans back to the drawing board
9:00am Wednesday 12th December 2012 in Southend
AMBITIOUS plans to restore Leigh’s Grand Hotel have been sent back to the drawing board.
Mick Norcross has revised his proposals for the iconic building, just four months after finally receiving planning permission.
The Only Way Is Essex star now wants to add an extra floor and bedroom to a planned extension to ensure the venture will make enough money to cover its costs.
But the latest delay has frustrated some supporters of the revamp, who said they had been waiting for work to start for too long.
Lindsay Belton, 34, of Leighton Avenue, said: “It does seem to be dragging on for a long time.
“I’m a fan of the plans, but I think they need to get going if they want to keep the neighbours’ support.”
Carole Mulroney, the chairman of Leigh Town Council, added: “The controversial issues which have arisen during the consideration of both planning and licensing have quite rightly been raised by the people of Leigh and we trust the applicant has taken note of local views.”
Mr Norcross divided opinion when he revealed his plans to restore the Grand, which has been closed since 2008, last year.
Neighbours complained it could trigger rowdy night-time behaviour and parking chaos, but traders in the Broadway argued it would revitalise the area.
The proposals stalled twice, firstly over Mr Norcross’s bid for a late alcohol licence, and then over his plans for an extension.
Planning permission for a two-storey expansion, including two extra bedrooms, was finally granted in August.
However, Mr Norcross now wants to add an extra storey to the expansion, containing an additional bedroom, to take the total number within the building to 20.
Southend Council’s development control committee will sit down on December 12 to decide whether the changes should go ahead, but the scheme has been recommended for approval by planners.
Mr Norcross was unavailable for comment.
However, a spokesman for Scoop Trading, which is handling the plans on Mr Norcross’s behalf, said: “In order to ensure the development has longevity, the business plan must be sustainable and profitable for the dream to become a reality.
“We respectfully request the council carefully consider the application and grant approval so the project can progress with an achievable, sound and sustainable business plan to ensure the Grand will be the best hotel in Leigh for many years to come.”
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