HERITAGE experts are urging a council to reject plans for a pub and hotel on a hill which is a protected Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The Thandi Partnership has submitted plans for a building at Castle Hill, Huddersfield. The hill is an important site with evidence of its use as a fort in the Iron Age.
There used to be a pub at the site but this was demolished and rebuilt in breach of planning conditions. Enforcement action forced the Thandi Partnership to take down the half-built structure.
Now the company is asking for permission to build a scaled-down version of the original pub.
Conservationists are against the plans, and English Heritage officials say the proposals would have a seriously harmful impact on the site’s historical assets.
Huddersfield Civic Society members said the proposed development would “damage the visual and archaeological integrity” of the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
But there is support for the plan among the public, with 71 letters of support and only 17 against. Supporters say a pub and hotel would be good for tourism and jobs and would enhance the visitor experience.
Critics have argued that the fact that there was a previous pub at the site does not mean that permission should be granted for a new building.
They have pointed out that the site is in the Green Belt and is a nature reserve. Others have criticised the “mock Victorian design” which they said was not authentic.
Local councillor Phil Scott said he has been “inundated with views for and against the development”. He believes it makes economic sense to have some facilities for visitors.
Councillors are being urged to reject the plans. A planning report concludes that the scheme would cause “substantial harm” to the setting of the site’s Grade II Victoria Tower. Councillors will discuss the plans on Thursday next week.