Historic England has backed restoration plans for Huddersfield’s iconic George Hotel.

As the Government’s expert advisor on England’s heritage, part of Historic England’s role is to advise on development proposals affecting the historic environment.

Historic England’s support is a seal of approval with a planning application for the hotel set to be decided by Kirklees Council’s planning committee in June.

The grade II*-listed building is to see extensions facing Huddersfield Railway Station and John William Street demolished and rebuilt. The façade fronting John William Street will remain, however.

The Victorian Society has expressed concern about the need for the demolition works but the support of Historic England means the plans are set for approval.

The hotel, which dates back to 1851, has been derelict since 2013 and its condition has steadily deteriorated over the past decade.

Historic England and Kirklees Council have been keen to see the building brought into use and recently funded repairs to the outside of the building as part of the Huddersfield High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Images by: Historic England

Kirklees Council has signed a deal with hotel operator Radisson RED to take on the 90-bedroom hotel. If planning permission is granted in June then work could start in September 2023 with the new hotel opening in spring or summer 2025.

Emma Sharpe, inspector of historic buildings for Historic England, said: “We’re pleased to see the application presents a positive vision for the future of The George, which retains its use as a hotel and is sympathetic to both its architectural and historic significance.”

Historic England was involved in detailed discussions with architects Bowman Riley, the project team and Kirklees Council during the development of the plans.

Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We’ve involved Historic England in discussions around the George Hotel from the outset because we understand its significance, not just as an economic driver for the town centre, but as a key piece of Huddersfield’s history.

“As our vision for the George is realised, we want to make sure this history and heritage are respected, through ongoing restoration works as well as the exciting redevelopment.

Scaffolding has come down as work on the historic stonework is almost complete. Image by: Gerard Quinn

“Like the rest of our work through the Huddersfield Blueprint, this project is about celebrating Huddersfield’s past as we also look to the future.

“When the George Hotel reopens, operated by international hotelier Radisson RED, we will not only be bringing new business to the heart of Huddersfield town centre but also futureproofing this beautiful building for decades to come.”

James Ross, senior architect at Bowman Riley, said: “We are delighted to have worked closely with Historic England, Kirklees Council and the project team to develop plans that truly respect this cherished landmark’s architectural and historic significance.

“The positive feedback from Historic England reinforces our commitment to retaining the hotel’s original purpose while infusing it with renewed vitality.

“We are grateful for Historic England’s expertise and guidance throughout this process, ensuring that the future of The George Hotel aligns seamlessly with its rich heritage.”