The reason former TOWIE star Mick Norcross still hasn't started work redeveloping a hotel...Japanese knotweed (From Echo)
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The reason former TOWIE star Mick Norcross still hasn't started work redeveloping a hotel...Japanese knotweed
10:00am Wednesday 30th October 2013 in News
A PESKY plant is the latest sticking point in plans to redevelop the Grand Hotel, in Leigh.
Japanese knotweed, notoriously difficult to eradicate, has set up home in the front and rear car parks and garden of the landmark building.
Workers are now trying to clear the plant, but it is delaying Mick Norcross from signing the lease on the Grade II listed building.
Mick outside the Grand
Mr Norcross, owner of the Sugar Hut nightclub in Brentwood, and a former figure on the reality show, the Only Way is Essex, wants to create a boutique hotel and spa on the site.
He said: “Someone who was clearing Japanese knotweed nearby spotted it in the car park of the Grand and got in touch with me.
“Because of the profile of the place people think I own it so all problems come to me.
“I passed it on to the owners and they have workers trying to eradicate it.
“It can take six weeks, but as soon as it’s gone we can push forward and sign the lease.”
He says if this latest problem had not been discovered his builders could have already been starting work to create a restaurant and piano lounge bar on the ground floor with 20 bedrooms above and a spa.
It is the latest setback to his plans, which had previously been delayed due to subsidence.
Mr Norcross said: “Japanese knotweed is a serious matter and so has delayed the signing of the lease. It can be expensive to clear and so the current owner has to take responsibility for it like anything else that arises before the lease is signed.”
Pub group Spirit is the current leaseholders of the empty building in the Broadway.
Mr Norcross, who is busy preparing for his next venture, an antiques shop and interior design service in Brentwood, added: “I hope the antiques shop will provide me with some of the furniture for the Grand. It is a Victorian building that I intend to keep looking grand.
“The Japanese knotweed is the last sticking point. Everything else is dealt with.”
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