By Oliver Thompson
Summat Yorkshire is KLTV’s weekly show and column looking at the latest goings-on across Kirklees and the wider Yorkshire area.
Castle Hill stands as an iconic landmark that stands above the Huddersfield landscape, but its future remains a mystery.
The hill is thought to have been inhabited for over 4,000 years and still contains remnants of a once thriving community including a well and the foundations of a 12th-century motte and bailey castle.
It’s most famous current landmark is the Victoria Tower (formerly called the Jubilee Tower and nearly called the Wellington Tower) which was erected in 1899 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and was considered a symbol of status within the area. The tower is used as an unofficial mascot for the local townsfolk and features on the Huddersfield Town coat of arms.
Another landmark that stays in the memory was the site of a former hotel. Built around 1810-11 a small tavern was built to cater to the increase of visitors, which transformed into a hotel by the turn of the millenium.
The Thandi Partnership purchased the public house leased from the Kirklees MetropolitianBorough, receiving planning permission to renovate the building, after breaching the planning conditions the 153-year-old building was demolished in 2003.
More recently, there have been large debates on what should be done at Castle Hill with campaigners wishing to rebuild the hotel to its former state and other suggesting nothing should be done, rather settling for a nature reverse.
Speaking to the ExaminerLive, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has called for action to “this continuing stalemate”.
“I just want the area to be celebrated but at the moment it’s horrible, a blot on the landscape when it should be one of the most historic sites in Yorkshire.
“People should be able to go up there and relish the views but it’s not a very appetising prospect at the moment and has been misused.
“The people actually elected to represent the people of Huddersfield want to see this happen, but these people appear to exercise some kind of veto on any redevelopment.”
Charlie Smith, a Huddersfield resident commented:
“Ever since the hotel was brought down, the situation for Castle Hill seems to have got worse and worse.
“I think it’s about time that the Castle Hill site was given back to the community. Various organisations have tried to make the site a profitable venture, all to no avail which is a real shame.
“I have the greatest confidence that our community, which still looks up to Castle Hill so fondly, is best placed to do what is right in the interests of both this symbolic landmark and the proud town that it represents.”
A frequent Castle Hill visitor, who did not wish to be named commented:
“If we build something like a hotel on the site, we’re going to have loads of other issues like litter and traffic.
“It’s not very safe to go up there on a night, personally I think we should leave it as it stands, it’s a peaceful place”.