BUSINESSMEN are making another attempt to build a pub at Castle Hill.
Mick and Barry Thandi have asked Kirklees Council for permission to construct a hotel which would be identical to the one which stood at the iconic site for 150 years.
The brothers bought the original building in 1998, but it was demolished seven years later following a dispute with council officials about an extension.
Councillors refused permission for a new pub on the site two years ago.
But the Thandis are back again – submitting a planning application to build a new hotel at the Almondbury site.
A document submitted by Armitage Bridge architects One 17 explains: “This latest application scheme effectively replicates the original hotel.
“The footprint of the building is more or less identical to that of the former Castle Hill Hotel prior to its later unfortunate extensions.”
The document adds that the new development would benefit visitors to Castle Hill.
“It proposes the provision of a pub/restaurant with rooms together with space for an interpretation centre and public toilet provision,” the document says.
“The provision of use by school parties and for short or long-term exhibitions /display material about the site for general visitors is a hugely important element of the proposal and something that can radically improve the value of the visitor experience.”
The document adds that the development would improve security at the site.
“The existence of 24-hour on-site management would automatically reduce opportunities for vandalism and anti-social behaviour,” it reads.
The new hotel would have a cellar and storage room in the basement; bar and restaurant on the ground floor and seven en-suite bedrooms on the first floor.
The development would create 12 full-time and 36 part-time jobs and would have 28 parking spaces.
The new plan is almost identical to a proposal which was rejected by councillors in 2010.
Chris Marsden, of Huddersfield Civic Society, said yesterday that the latest application should also be rejected because it would be new development in the green belt.
“We will oppose this on the same grounds as we opposed the last one,” he said.
“Once you remove a building then you’re not rebuilding, you’re applying for a new development.
“There have to be exceptional circumstances to build on a green belt site. The applicant failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances last time.
“There are pubs all over the place that aren’t doing well so there’s no demonstrated need for a pub.
“Planning policy isn’t about people’s sentimental or historical feelings about a site.”
Mr Marsden added that the road to the site was unsuitable for any increase in traffic.
“Access is insufficient for a public house. It’s a single-track road with no scope to improve,” he said.
Clr James Blanchard, who represents the area on Kirklees, said yesterday he would examine the new plan before making up his mind.
“If it’s something sensible that people can use as a real facility then that’s great,” said the Almondbury Lib Dem.
“But I want to make sure that a site of real beauty and historic interest isn’t damaged.”
Public consultation on the Thandi Partnership’s plan for Castle Hill will run until Sunday, July 29.
See next page for a timeline of events at the hill.
Timeline: A hill of a long dispute
1810: A pub was built at Castle Hill.
1852: The pub was replaced by the Castle Hill Hotel, designed by Huddersfield architect William Wallen.
1899: The Earl of Scarborough officially opened Victoria Tower, built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
1998: Mick and Barry Thandi bought the Castle Hill Hotel.
2002: Kirklees Council gave the Thandi brothers permission to build a 10-bedroom extension.
2003: Part of the hotel was demolished during the expansion.
2004: Work halted after complaints that too much of the original hotel had been torn down.
2005: The hotel was demolished.
2010: The council’s Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee voted seven to three against the Thandi brothers’ proposal to build a new hotel which would have been a replica of the original.