Lord Sugar and Apprentice winner slam Crossrail delay’s impact on business
Dr Leah Totton’s company, backed by the businessman, is opening its third site next week.
Delays to London’s Crossrail are holding back expansion plans at one of Lord Alan Sugar’s star investments, the businessman has revealed.
Speaking to the Press Association at the opening of Dr Leah Totton’s third cosmetic clinic, Lord Sugar said the long wait for the new rail system was “a bit of a joke”.
Dr Totton, who won The Apprentice in 2013 and earned a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar, is set to open a fourth site in the Canary Wharf Crossrail station.
However, the original opening date of December 2018 was pushed back after Transport for London said the new line, named after the Queen, would not be open for another two years.
“We’ve got an agreement with the landlord there and basically we’re not moving in until the Underground is working,” he said. “And when that will be? Your guess is as good as ours on that one.
“Some people are saying 2020, 2021. It’s a bit of a joke.”
I think everyone is distracted with Brexit, but actually it’s disgracefully delayed. It’s really holding us up as a business Dr Leah Totton
Dr Totton said: “I think everyone is distracted with Brexit, but actually it’s disgracefully delayed. It’s really holding us up as a business.”
In response to the comment, a spokesperson for Crossrail said: “We share the frustration of Londoners and London businesses that the huge benefits of the Elizabeth line are not yet with us.
“Everyone involved in the Crossrail project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth line is completed and brought into passenger service as quickly as possible.”
Lord Sugar added that once all four sites are open, the business could look to open more clinics in the UK, with Manchester and Dublin on the list of potential locations.
The newest clinic, which opens on Monday in Baker Street, will offer advanced treatments such as hair transplants, mole removal and female health procedures.
Facials, Botox and dermal filler are already offered at two other Dr Leah branches in Moorgate and Essex.
The Baker Street branch also features an underground entrance, allowing for A-list and aristocratic clients to arrive in privacy.
Dr Totton said turnover is set to double from £1.6 million a year to £3.2 million following the opening, with a vaginal treatment for stress urinary incontinence expected to be one of the biggest sellers.
She added that demand for her services is currently “through the roof”.
“That’s why we are going through a period of rampant scale at the minute,” she said.
“It’s reflective of the demand that exists for the procedures we provide: the likes of Botox, dermal fillers, thread facelifts.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, TV shows such as Love Island but also the general use of Instagram, Snapchat and the selfie generation has massively increased the demand for the cosmetic procedures in the 25-and-under age group.”
However, both Dr Totton and Lord Sugar insisted that the clinics will never treat anyone under 18, and said the industry needs to be better regulated, with a ban on sales of dermal filler to non-medical professionals.
“We would support the calls to make dermal filler prescription-only medication,” said Dr Totton.
“Some people are left with significant deformities as a result of having these treatments by cosmetic cowboys.”