The re-development of the George Hotel could open up the potential for a revamp of the approach to Huddersfield Railway Station.
Kirklees Council is looking at the potential for creating a new Station Square which could include a new station entrance at the front.
Internally, the station is to undergo major modernisation as a result of the £1.5 billion TransPennine Route Upgrade electrification scheme.
But the listed station building could also see improvements to the approach to the main frontage and even a new entrance.
The council wants to improve the Station Gateway area and officers have highlighted “the potential for a new Station Square to provide an arrival space, drop off zone and new entrance to the station.”
Computer-generated images of the new-look George Hotel also show changes to the front of the station (main image, above), which might give a hint of the council’s thinking.
The George Hotel is to become a 90-plus bedroom hotel with a deal to be signed with the Radisson Group for it to become an upmarket Radisson Red.
The latest plans show the scale of re-development work needed to increase the number of bedrooms from 60 when it closed in 2013 to the 90 the consultants say are needed for it to be financially viable.
The main frontage of the listed building will be repaired and restored but other parts of the building will see major change.
What is known as Block B (facing the station at the rear) will be demolished with new upper floors added. The upper floors will be “stepped back” so as not to detract from the look of the building.
Block C (facing John William Street) will see only the façade retained with the internal structures and the internal courtyard removed.
The council’s architects and design team are in regular contact with Historic England to ensure all changes are acceptable.
More work is underway to find out whether certain parts of the internal structure in Block C can be retained and incorporated into the new design.
The council has approved spending of £20 million on the hotel and a formal planning application is likely to be submitted in the next few weeks.
Construction could start in June 2023 with the hotel opening in November 2024.
The council is also looking at the potential for the re-development of the historic St George’s Warehouse behind the railway station. A lack of car parking for the station is also something that they want to address.
There is no car parking at the George Hotel site, of course, and the council expects Radisson to do a deal with a nearby private operator.
The council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, Clr Graham Turner, said a lack of car parking would not be an issue for the George Hotel.
“I was concerned about car parking but I looked at what Radisson Red do,” he said. “None of their hotels have car parks and the new Liverpool hotel is right next to the railway station.
“Car parking is not something that will hold the George Hotel back. It will thrive.”