NEW proposals for Huddersfield’s most famous landmark could see a return to the past.
The Thandi Partnership, run by brothers Mick and Barry Thandi, wants to resurrect plans for a pub and restaurant on Castle Hill, based on the former Castle Hill Hotel.
The brothers, who own the leasehold to the landmark site, had plans for a 14-bedroom boutique hotel rejected in July.
Kirklees Council, which owns the freehold, gave the Thandis until the end of this month to come up with new ideas.
Council bosses said if they failed to do so they would seek to compulsorily purchase the site, which includes the Grade II listed Victoria Tower.
Now One17, the Huddersfield architecture firm which represents the Thandi Partnership, has said the Thandis want to work with the council on a plan similar to the former Castle Hill Hotel demolished four years ago.
Mark Lee, from the firm, said: “The partnership have now reverted to the council with proposals to work jointly to achieve a development of a replacement Castle Hill Hotel in association with the provision of new visitor facilities.
“Subject to the co-operation of the Council these proposals could result in the provision of a replacement pub-restaurant and letting rooms on the site of the former Castle Hill Hotel.”
The Thandi brothers acquired the former pub and hotel, in 1998, but then had plans to redevelop it rejected.
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.
Planners had insisted much of the old building should be kept but it was virtually all demolished, and the new building was on a bigger scale than that approved.
The entire building was eventually pulled down the following year.
Since then various ideas have been put forward for the site.
Mr Lee said the new plans included accommodation for education and recreational use and toilet facilities for visitors.
There would be an interpretation centre providing information about the history of Castle Hill.
Mr Lee added: “The Thandi Partnership have expressed a new commitment to work in partnership with the local authority and other agencies including English Heritage to redevelop the former Castle Hill Hotel site.
“The Thandi Partnership recognise the importance of this site to local people and that the uncertainty regarding the future of the site is regarded by many as unsatisfactory.
“To that extent the partnership are willing to commit to the submission of a planning application within the short term subject to a positive response to these proposals from Kirklees Council.”
Clr David Sheard, Cabinet member for regeneration, said the major sticking point would be getting planning permission to build on greenbelt land, next to an ancient monument site. He added: “If they put plans forward, we will look at them.
“Personally, I liked it when there was a pub up there and a lot of people did like going up there for meals.”
Almondbury councillor Ann Denham said any development would have to include improved visitor facilities.
She said: “There has to be extremely good reasons for a building up there. It has to be extraordinarily special. We do need more visitor support.”
Council leader Mehboob Khan said as well as planning considerations, the project had to be viable as a business.
He added: “This issue has been going on for seven years and we are determined to draw it to a conclusion.
“We will consult with the Almondbury ward councillors and MP Barry Sheerman and in due course take a report to the Cabinet.
“The report will be a public document and we will inform residents and interested parties of the contents of the report at least seven days prior to the meeting.”