Campaign launched to seize Rugby League’s birthplace from current owner

Local conservationists have joined forces with Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman to demand action to save the former George Hotel from further deterioration.

The hotel, located at St George’s Square outside the town’s railway station, is acknowledged as the birthplace of Rugby League.

But there are concerns for the future of the listed building, which has led to a petition being launched calling Kirklees Council to use its powers to “seize” the disused building from its current owner.

Former Giants prop forward Eorl Crabtree has thrown his support behind the petition.

While MP Sheerman believes the building’s owner, dentist and businessman Dr Altaf Hussain, should be given a final chance to do something with the building, before a compulsory purchase is considered.

He said: “I realise he (the owner) does not have the resources to develop it.

“I have offered to support him in any way I can. I don’t want to be on any bad terms. I would urge him to seek help.”

The petition has already attracted more that 1,200 signatures.

The description on the petition reads: “In autumn 2021, England, including Huddersfield (two games), will host the Rugby League World Cup.

“As usual, when England are the hosts, the media and fans from all over the World will make the pilgrimage to the George Hotel in Huddersfield in order to pay homage to the birthplace of Rugby League.

“This time the pilgrims will be in for shock, as the George Hotel is now a sad dilapidated building desperately in need of some care and attention.

“The World Cup should be a boost for our town, but if the George Hotel is left in its present condition it will  be an embarrassment and also a sad indictment on our town’s duty of care to its Victorian heritage.”

You can view the petition here.

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