A HOLME architect says building should not take place on Castle Hill - but underneath it instead.
Arthur Quarmby, 69, thinks Castle Hill should not spoilt by surface development.
Instead, he thinks future developments should be created by carving out the rock underneath.
He said: "If we can't put something underneath and out of sight, I would rather we had nothing there. The hill is terribly ancient."
In 1995, Kirklees Council set up a committee to decide what to do with Castle Hill to mark the millennium.
The committee decided to look into creating a visitor centre and Mr Quarmby was asked to come up with a design.
Mr Quarmby is one of Britain's leading specialists in underground structures.
For 20 years, he has lived in Britain's first earth-sheltered house, which he designed himself.
His design for the visitor centre involved cutting a passage from one side of the hill to the other.
There would be a parking area, which would lead into a foyer with retail displays.
This would lead into a large central space, with a skylight in the roof, which could be used as a concert hall to seat around 800 people.
Then there would be an information area, then a lift and stairs to the hill surface.
All the chambers would be egg-shaped and the plan could be adapted to include a cafe, conference centre, observatory and light shows.
Mr Quarmby said the £6m cost of his design would cost no more than building a centre on the surface.
Kirklees Council put a bid in for lottery cash for the scheme, but were told to apply to the lottery's heritage fund instead.
The idea was abandoned.
In 2000, plans were made for a £1m scheme of repairs to eroded footpaths around the ancient earthworks and new signs, toilets, landscaping and car parking improvements.
A 130sq m visitor centre, off Lumb Lane, was also mooted and a lottery bid was placed. But most of the ideas never came to fruition.
Mr Quarmby feels his design would still be suitable today.
He said: "You have to be very careful about investment. Lots of projects were started for the millennium and have not succeeded.
"But Castle Hill is a national treasure and we are not making the most of it. Lots of exciting things could be done with it. But we might have a long wait."
* In 5,000BC - during the Mesolithic period - Castle Hill would have been surrounded on three sides by a body of water called Lake Calderdale, a remnant from the Ice Age.
* Castle Hill was a hill fort populated by the Brigante people from 2,600BC - before the pyramids were built in Egypt. lBy 431BC, a fire had wiped out most of the fortifications. lA castle was eventually constructed in 1100AD. lIn 1812, a hotel was built on the hill. lIn 1898, the Jubilee Tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee the year before.
CASTLE Hill was an eyesore as long ago as the 1960s, it is claimed. Stephen Roberts, of Marsh, has a copy of the Examiner's 1961 calendar featuring an aerial view of the site.
It shows ramshackle, roofless outhouses alongside the former pub, which stood on the site of the present Thandi development.
But a 1966 Examiner calendar of the site does not feature the outbuildings, as they were removed to provide parking space.
He said: "I don't think the new building was much different in size to the old pub. If it had been built in the original stone, I don't think it would be out of place."