Huddersfield MP Calls For Cable Car At Castle Hill

A chair lift on the Italian island of Capri. Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman is calling for a similar scheme at Castle Hill.

Barry Sheerman says he was inspired by a similar scheme on the Italian island of Capri.

Castle Hill in Huddersfield should be accessed by cable car.

That’s the view of the town’s MP Barry Sheerman, who was inspired by the Monte Solaro chair lift on the Italian island of Capri.

“It would be perfect, it’s do-able and it’s not expensive,” said Mr Sheerman.

“It would be a tourist attraction and it would solve a lot of the accessibility problems at what is already a jewel in the crown in terms of one of the most beautiful views in the whole of Yorkshire.”

His comment comes just days after it was revealed that controversial plans for a cafe/restaurant/interpretation centre are still being considered by planners on Kirklees Council.

The authority confirmed that developers the Thandi Partnership were working on amended proposals with a formal submission expected in the next few weeks.

Mr Sheerman has long been involved in discussions about what could or should replace the former Castle Hill Hotel, which was demolished by the Thandis – brothers Mick and Barry – in 2005.

The MP, who has represented Huddersfield since 1979, said he “took on” the Thandis after they controversially bulldozed the 153-year-old hotel in 2003, replacing it with the skeleton of a larger new build.

“I really told them what I thought. Since then I have tried to persuade them – and they have listened – to get a good architect and a good, environmental, sustainable design.

“A nice little hotel up there that was more or less the same size of the one that was knocked down, blending in with the local area so that people can go up there for a nice meal, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine would really bring that dead, miserable car park back to an iconic site that everyone wants to go to.”

He said the addition of a cable car system or chair lift would only augment any potential development on the 4,000-year-old flat-topped Neolithic site.

He added: “I would love a very simple little cable car that took you up.

"If you go to Capri you go up the high bit [on a chair lift]. All it is is a little seat that you sit on, and it’s circular.”

He said a similar system would give “easy, simple access to Castle Hill.”

Mr Sheerman said he has raised the matter with colleagues on Kirklees Council and via the commission on the future of Huddersfield, which he chairs.

Critics of the Thandis’ plan for Castle Hill, which includes a hybrid two-storey cafe/restaurant with hotel rooms and interpretation centre, have questioned why it has been extended in the face of “overwhelming” objections.

Huddersfield Civic Society asked why the application had not been rejected.

Meanwhile local councillors said planning policy prevented commercial building taking place on Castle Hill, which is a national monument within the green belt.

Mount Solaro on Capri is 589m above sea level. The one-person chair lift affords views of the entire Gulf of Naples.

Castle Hill, including the Grade II listed Victoria Tower, is 305m above sea level.

 

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