TALKS over a possible development on Castle Hill are progressing – slowly.
Ten years after brothers Mick and Barry Thandi bought the historic Castle Hill Hotel, Huddersfield’s landmark site remains derelict.
Last year tentative plans were mooted for a trendy wine bar, with bedrooms and visitors’ centre, on the hill.
And Mark Lee, of architecture firm One Seventeen AD, insisted the idea had not been dismissed.
But he said it would take time for any firm plans to be realised.
He said: “We are still talking with Kirklees Council and the Thandi Partnership, but it’s still at the point where we are thinking about possible ideas.
“It certainly hasn’t been forgotten about from our point of view.
“There’s quite a lot going on and the Thandis are very keen to do something.
“The difference is they want to do something in partnership with Kirklees, so there’s no misunderstanding.”
He added: “It’s moving along, but one of the big things is there are so many people involved.
“So it’s difficult sometimes to get everyone together in one place.”
Castle Hill has been at the centre of controversy since the Thandi brothers acquired the old hotel in 1998.
They had initial plans to redevelop it rejected but in 2002 planners agreed to extensions to the hotel, including 10 bedrooms.
Demolition work started on part of the hotel the following year, but complaints that too much of the old hotel was being ripped down led to work being halted in 2004.
In November of that year the Thandi Partnership agreed to demolish the new structure.
But it was not until June 2005 that demolition work finally finished.
Since then various ideas have been put forward for the site.
Clr Ken Sims, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said the council was waiting for designs to be drawn up – and they had to be right.
He said: “It’s a prominent place and a place of great public interest and it has got to be right.
“I don’t want anything rushed and when we have got some concrete ideas they will need to be put out for public consultation.”
He said once plans were in place, there could be difficulties paying for any project.
“Lottery money has dried up because the Government is taking everything for the Olympic Games,” he said.
“Some of it will have to be grant funded and then English Heritage will have to sanction the plans.”