PLANS for a penthouse on top of Leigh’s Grand Hotel have been rejected on appeal.

Businessman Mick Norcross modified plans for the iconic building after Southend Council rejected plans for the rooftop flat saying it was out of keeping with the area.

Plans for the refurbishment of the building, which include a wine bar, health club and a restaurant, plus 18 luxury flats, with 19 parking spaces, were approved in November 2017 after the penthouse was replaced with a viewing platform.

Mr Norcross lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate for his original plan.

However, the inspectorate has rejected the appeal. Inspector A J Mageean, said: “I have concluded that the proposed development would cause harm to the locally listed building and there would be less than substantial harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area.

“I have taken into consideration a range of other factors and conclude over all that the appeal proposals would represent a compromise too far in securing a future for this prominent and locally significant building.”

The inspector added the application was not in accord with Southend Council’s local plan.

Work finally began on the Leigh landmark in February. While it is still under wraps and much of the work is being carried out inside, work underway on the former pub’s boundary wall has been praised by a Leigh town councillor.

Paul Gilson said: “It was an overdevelopment. We have planning officers to look at these things and the planning inspectorate has agreed with them.

“I have to say the work taking place so far is top quality. It is only on the boundary wall but it is top notch. If the building is done with the same quality of work it will look very good.”

An application for costs by Southend Council against Mr Norcross was refused by the inspectorate.