Work to strip the derelict George Hotel of asbestos has been completed and the main restoration will get underway this summer.

Surveys found significant amounts of potentially-dangerous asbestos inside the building and experts were sent in to safely remove it.

That work has now been completed and architects, supported by officials from Historic England, are on site preparing for the next stage.

Once plans have been finalised the hoardings around the building will come down and scaffolding will go up, marking a highly-visible step forward in the long-awaited restoration.

Clr Peter McBride, Kirklees Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We are pleased to report that now the asbestos removal works have been completed we have started to make progress in the epic journey to restore this majestic building to its former glory.

“Our specialist conservation architect is on site and their assessment is underway. This assessment is key to the building work to come, making sure the heritage of the building is respected and maintained. Historic England will shortly have their architecture team on site too.

“We have completed preparation works in the car park to make sure that all of the required plant will have access to the building whilst maintaining access for regular users of the parking spaces.

“This work, along with moving the hoardings that are currently in place, also makes way for the scaffolding works that will be needed.

“The whole building will be scaffolded in the summer before the necessary repair work begins. We are at a very exciting part of the journey and can’t wait to share the progress with residents and visitors alike.

“The George Hotel will form part of the Station Gateway in our ambitious Huddersfield Blueprint which aims to make the town centre a great place to live, work and visit, with thriving business and vibrant culture at its heart.”

It was revealed earlier this year that Kirklees Council bought the Grade II building for £1.8 million and that the conversion could cost around £9 million.

It was the place where rugby league was founded in 1895 and, appropriately, it will become home to the National Museum for Rugby League and will also have commercial space, such as offices, and also overnight accommodation.

Dentist Dr Altaf Hussain bought the building for around £900,000 in April 2013.