The extent of repair work needed on the George Hotel has been revealed in a report by architects and building consultants.

Kirklees Council has appointed Skipton-based Bowman Riley to work on the restoration of the grade II* listed building, now covered with a scaffolding wrap.

A report on the condition of the former 60-bed hotel, which closed in January 2013, reveals it’s likely all the roofs will have to be replaced, stonework is crumbling and roof leaks have caused a “significant outbreak” of dry rot.

The council, which owns the building, has submitted a planning application for listed building consent to restore the windows, carry out re-roofing work and replace guttering and rainwater pipework. The existing fire escape will also be replaced on safety grounds.

The council plans to upgrade the windows to include slimline double glazing/vacuum glass; remove and replace inappropriate window frames; and reinstate windows into openings that have been blocked up.

Council documents have also revealed some concerns over the “stability of the building, primarily due to water ingress.”

This meant surveyors were not allowed into certain parts of the building including to check the glazing above the ballroom.

A report by Bowman Riley, submitted as part of the planning application, says: “The general condition of the building varies depending on the orientation and location of the façade.

“It is a fair assessment to state that the general condition of the external fabric is not consistent, with some areas in reasonable condition and other areas that are in very poor condition and have failed.”

The report says some areas of stonework on the façade of the building are loose, particularly at a high level, and some stone is only held in place by pigeon deterrent netting.

The roofs of the main building and the east and west wings are also said to be in a poor condition. There are leaks in several places and slates have also been turned and re-fixed. Some slates have been turned 90 degrees to the ridge, which the report describes as “unusual.”

The report says the new section of the roof on the east wing has been replaced with “inappropriate imported slate tiles.”

The report adds: “The poor condition of the various roofs on the building has led to numerous areas of water ingress internally which has in turn led to the loss of internal decorative features in various areas throughout the building.

“The damp environment is actively promoting the decay of the building fabric and there has been a significant outbreak of dry rot in various areas throughout the building.

“From our initial assessment it appears that the majority (if not all) of the roofs will require replacement.”

The main part of the hotel was built in 1851 with the ground floor of the east wing shortly after. Upper floors were added to the east wing and by 1874 the first floor had billiard rooms and the second floor had bedrooms.

There were major remodelling works to the west wing in the 1930s when bedrooms were added at second floor level. In the late 20th century third floor bedrooms were added.

READ MORE: Why National Rugby League Museum is ‘incompatible’ with restoration of the George Hotel

Kirklees Council bought the derelict building from property entrepreneur Dr Altaf Hussain for £1.8 million in 2020 and revealed it had secured £1.4 million in funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to carry out the first phase of renovation works.

The George Hotel was the birthplace of rugby league in 1895 and the council won a bid to house the National Rugby League Museum in the restored building.

What’s left of the former rugby league museum inside the George Hotel

However, in the last few weeks it has emerged the council doesn’t believe the hotel is the right location and may put off potential hotel operators. Instead it wants to move the RL museum to its proposed new Huddersfield Museum in the Piazza area, a suggestion which has proved controversial.

READ MORE: How Mayor of West Yorkshire put boot into hopes for RL museum at the George Hotel

Before Christmas a scaffolding wrap – life-sized images of a fully-restored George Hotel – have been placed around the building pending the start of external works.

Scaffolding wrap on the front of the George Hotel

In a statement Clr Peter McBride, the council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We are pleased to report on progress with the George Hotel.

“We are currently reviewing tender returns from contractors for remedial works on the building and hope to award the contract in the new year. We anticipate a start on site in early 2022.”

Public consultation on the planning application for listed building consent ends on January 14.

All the images, barring those of the scaffolding wrap, are taken from a Heritage Statement report by Bowman Riley published on Kirklees Council’s planning portal