In February, property developer and TV reality star Mick Norcross finally acquired the freehold to the building, but said that his original plans for a £4.5m boutique hotel would need a “re-think”.
The new application seeks to convert the existing hotel into a mixed-use building comprising a basement wine bar and health club, ground floor restaurants and terrace, and 19 self-contained flats across three floors.
Mr Norcross said that the amount of investment required to repair the building – which has suffered from subsidence and invasive Japanese knotweed since it fell derelict a decade ago – means that the original hotel scheme is no longer financially viable.
In a statement, Mr Norcross said: “Following the assignment of a lease to the Grand, it was discovered that the Japanese Knotweed which was supposed to be eradicated pre assignment, was in fact still present.
“After a further four years of problems with Japanese Knotweed, the plans for the hotel were put on hold due to not being able to secure funding (because of the Knotweed problem). This meant that the building had fallen into a further state of disrepair, with extensive and costly building works to undertake due to ingress of water, failed rain water goods and subsidence to list but a few of the buildings problems.
“This left me with two choices: either walk away from this project and lose everything I had put into it, or try to purchase the freehold and engage professionals to assist in coming up with a viable scheme which would secure the future of the Grand for years to come.
“Following 12 months of negotiations with the Head leaseholder and the ultimate property owners in America, thankfully I was able to purchase the freehold in February of this year.
“We then engaged professionals to work with us and Southend Council on a new viable scheme through pre app advice to enable an application to be registered."
Mr Norcross said that if planning permission is granted in November, “work will commence very early in the new year, if not before”.
You can access the full planning application here (registration required)