WORK on Leigh’s Grand Hotel has still not started, despite assurances it would begin last month.
Concerns have now been raised over the state of the site, with some calling for businessman and former Towie star Mick Norcross to start work immediately on creating his stylish boutique hotel.
Mr Norcross told the Echo in January the 18-month renovation of the Victorian building was expected to start at the beginning of February but, more than a month on, there is still no evidence at all of this taking place.
Leigh councillor Peter Wexham said the delay was leading to residents making complaints over the site. MrWexham said: “I’ve been getting complaints the site is becoming overgrown and full of litter once again.
“People are asking what’s happening with the Grand, but I just don’t know what’s going to happen to it, which is a shame, as it’s nice building.
“You often get cases where nothing happens with a building and it gets worse and worse until the owners pull it down and replace it with a block of flats – I hope that doesn’t happen with the Grand.”
Mr Wexham believes part of the delay could be down to another problem with the invasive weed Japanese knotweed at the site.
It was found in the site’s car park last year and Mr Norcross told the Echo this was the main issue delaying the handover of the site before it was removed in October.
Another hold-up involved Mr Norcross taking over the lease from the Spirit Pub Company, but this was sorted out in December.
Caroline Parker, a Leigh town councillor, backed Mr Norcross to complete his redevelopment of the site.
She said: “I sympathise should there be a problem, because I have faith in Mr Norcross taking the Grand Hotel into the 21st century.
“I would say hewould have the majority of Leigh behind him in restoring the Grand Hotel to its former glory. Regardless of whether they like him or not, they want to see it restored.”
The iconic Grand operated from the heart of Leigh for more than a century following its construction in 1896, but was boarded in 2008 when owners the Orchid Group went into administration.
During the Eighties, it became famous for its live music acts and, in its earlier years, even played host to Laurel and Hardy, who stayed there during its early years.
The Echo contacted Mr Norcross, but he declined to comment.