Kirklees Council says there has been a “good deal of interest” in its plans to create an enlarged George Hotel with at least 90 bedrooms.

As the second phase of painstaking conservation works start on the grade II-listed building, the council has revealed its “early market feedback” has been positive.

The council has produced a marketing brochure with concept drawings and wants to attract a “quality hotel operator.”

Back in March the then Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Peter McBride suggested that the hotel would need another floor and at least 100 bedrooms to make it viable. When the hotel closed in 2013 it had just 60 bedrooms.

The council is working with market specialists Queensberry to find an operator and tenant for the new hotel.

The council says: “To turn the George Hotel into an attractive prospect, a reconfiguration of the interior and an extension may be the best way forward.

“Early feedback from the market suggests there is a good deal of interest in working with the council to develop a branded 90-plus room hotel with a complementary, quality food and drink offer.

“To guide our plans, early concept drawings have been completed, and a marketing brochure demonstrates the potential of Huddersfield as a destination, and the George Hotel to become a landmark hotel in the area.

“Through the process of competitive tendering, prospective operator options will be presented to Cabinet for review in August 2022.”

Last year the council carried out extensive surveys and works took place to remove asbestos and make the building safe.

A second phase of conservation work is now underway, led by William Birch & Sons Ltd, specialist contractors based in York. The project is funded by the council, with support from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones and West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Getting Building Fund.

The conservation works will address the issues on the exterior of the building, including masonry, windows and roof repairs.

Council leader Shabir Pandor said: “The George Hotel has been sat derelict for far too long. It is a vital part of Huddersfield’s heritage and that is why the council purchased it.

“We can make sure it opens its doors again and, crucially, in the right way so that it stays open for good. The George Hotel is of high historical value, and I have great confidence that our project will bring this iconic building back to life – whilst celebrating and conserving the heritage that makes it so special.

“I look forward to following the progress of the George Hotel. The building is expected to be open in summer 2024 when it will again take its rightful place in the heart of Huddersfield.”

The council has produced a video with more information and a look at the condition of the building. Watch the video here