Death Knell For The Grand?

July 17, 2017 by Rob Kahl at Scott & Stapleton

Death Knell For The Grand?

I think most people were pretty astounded to hear the news that the latest proposals for The Grand were turned down by the council. There is definitely a swell of support by the majority of the public and local businesses for something to finally happen to this iconic building.

Mr Norcross’ latest proposal was for an extension to the rear and a penthouse apartment to be built on top. The penthouse was one of the contentious issues for the Council which seems odd when these types of additions have been added to other buildings like Palmeira Mansions on Westliff seafront and there is even one already in Leigh Broadway at Clements Place.

I have been fortunate, or unfortunate depending on how you see it, to be able to visit The Grand recently and it is looking very sorry for itself and is quite upsetting. I think most people have fabulous memories of boozy nights listening to live music or drinking on the terrace, and we all hold the building very close to our hearts.  Seeing it looking so forlorn isn’t nice and, more worryingly, it is now in such poor condition that I worry that the building may not make it through another winter.

One thing for sure is that if the building does collapse or gets to such a state that it can't be saved, we all know that it will be lost forever. Can you imagine it being replaced with a modern block of flats like the ones opposite at Grand View Court or Eden Point?

I wasn’t surprised to read that Mick Norcorss had had enough and put The Grand up for sale after the plans were turned down. He has probably invested a great deal of money already and is prepared to put even more into refurbishing the building and our local economy, together with employing a fair amount of people, but there is only so much that he can take presumably?

The vultures circled and I was approached by quite a few people that would have bought the property from him and I did speak to him about selling. There was even a community group that was galvanising itself to try and take it over as a community run pub, but I am pleased to say that Mr Norcross has re-grouped, thought long and hard about it and is prepared for the fight.

He is going to appeal the latest refusal for the penthouse and submit another set of plans without the penthouse and hopefully this time (surely) he will get approval for something and we can finally see some movement.

I personally think he should be applauded for his patience and determination and he definitely has the support of the general public that I have spoken to and all of the business owners that I know cant wait to see The Grand revitalised.

Even other bars and restaurants in the town are hopeful for approval this time round, seeing the regenerated property not as competition, but bringing even more people in to our town. Hopefully the plans will be approved at the first opportunity and building work can start in earnest. I think with a bit of luck we could see something happening before the end of this year and even completion of the works by this time next year. Maybe I am being a bit optimistic but the idea of Autumn sundowners on the terrace at The Grand once more has got to be an image worth holding on to and hoping for.

This article is by Rob at Scott & Staplelton.
Tel: 01702 471155

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