Scaffolding has gone up at the George Hotel to prepare for the major renovation work needed on one of Huddersfield’s premier buildings.
The hotel’s owner, Dr Altaf Hussain, said in December that scaffolding would be put up this month and workers erected it yesterday.
The landmark hotel – a stone’s throw from Huddersfield railway station – closed a year ago and was acquired by Dr Hussain in April 2013.
It is thought a full structural and interior repair of the hotel could cost nearly £2m.
There have been doubts that the entrepreneur, who also runs Huddersfield Dental Care Centre, would be capable of restoring the hotel to its former status.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman had earlier expressed his disappointment at Dr Hussain taking over the hotel, saying he would have preferred a major hotel chain to be the new owner.
Mr Sheerman said: “The George is the jewel in the crown of Huddersfield.
“I have met the man and I am sure he had good intentions.”
Due to the lack of any visible signs of activity at the hotel, sceptics had also voiced doubts that any work was taking place at all.
Dr Hussain was not available for comment on the new scaffolding, but when he spoke to the Examiner near the end of December, he promised: “After Christmas, scaffolding on!”
The owner also said that one of the renovated bedrooms would go on show by the end of January.
Responding to the comments on no apparent progress being made, Dr Hussain said that the interior had been completely stripped of its contents and the revamp would be much bigger than expected.
The owner added: “The building has major structural issues which need to be addressed before internal works can begin.
“My architect has submitted the planned alterations and we are awaiting a response from the Kirklees Council planning and conservation department.
“With the building being listed, you cannot carry out works without the necessary consent.”