WORK to rebuild one of Huddersfield's best-known landmarks is gathering pace.

Following the near-total demolition of the prominent Castle Hill Hotel over the past three months, a huge steel skeleton has replaced its weakening timber frame ready for the stonework to be restored.

The owners, the Thandi Partnership, will try to use as much of the original stone and roofing material as possible in the rebuild.

The new-look restaurant, hotel and pub could be ready by Easter.

The mammoth refurbishment and extension project on the Victorian hotel and pub began in mid-September after the landmark building had been shut for over a year.

"We are very pleased with the progress of the work," said Kirklees Council planning officer Bill Topping.

"It was empty for a while and in a very poor state. The groundwork is now done."

He added: "It was vacant for a long time. People were worrying what was going to happen to it because it had a very neglected and desolate look."

He said council officials were visiting every week to check on the work.

"It will look better than it did before. It will be of a traditional design in natural stone. They have tried to retain much of the stone to re-use it."

Initial construction quality and the ravages of time meant most of the structure had to be replaced.

Residents living nearby had campaigned against alterations to the hotel.

Extensions will include a restaurant on the first floor and a conservatory at the rear of the hotel.

The hotel is not listed and the plans passed by the council permitted extensive demolition.

The owners had to work with English Heritage and the West Yorkshire Archaeological Service on the demolition.

The entire hill is the site of an Iron Age fort and designated as a scheduled monument.

Because of that classification, an archaeologist needed to be on site during all excavation work.

A hotel has stood on the hill since 1812. The nearby Jubilee Tower, which is unaffected by any development, was put up in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee the year before.