The closure of an 18th century Georgian hotel to turn it into apartments has ruined a couple’s wedding plans.
Aylesford residents Katherine Jones and Jim Dowling were due to get married at Hadlow Manor Hotel in Tonbridge in June 2024.
But out of the blue Jim, 29, received a call from the hotel manager two weeks ago telling them they had to move the wedding to an earlier date in 2023, to a new location or cancel it , because the historic site is closing its doors. next September.
Having already started booking things for their big day, including sending save the date cards and paying for a marriage license and photographer, the couple were left out after paying a deposit of around £3,360 and signed contracts.
The couple found themselves in dire straits after the Goose Green, Hadlow, which intended to demolish part of the hotel and build 12 new homes, decided to close.
If approved, part of the Grade II listed Georgian building would be redeveloped into six two-bedroom apartments, while a 20-bedroom extension to the rear of the Maidstone Road building would be demolished for six four-bedroom houses.
The site would also lose 53 parking spaces as part of the redevelopment.
Katherine, also 29, and Jim were refunded their deposit but received no compensation for booking extras for the wedding.
Her father Louis, who was angered by the whole situation, said: ‘The Hadlow events team lobbied for them to sign a contract and put down a deposit to secure the date and they signed and paid the silver.
“But just under two weeks later Jim got a call from the events teams saying the hotel was going to be converted into apartments so they needed to move it to an earlier date, location or cancel.
“Moving the date or location was not an option, so the event was cancelled.
“After that we received an email saying the hotel was offering free cancellation rather than confirming that they had canceled the contract.
“I spoke to the Managing Director and requested that the deposit be refunded immediately and a reasonable offer of compensation be made for the direct and indirect costs incurred.
“But he said they weren’t offering any compensation because of the ‘unforeseen circumstances’ clause in the contract.”
A Hadlow Manor spokesperson said: ‘Hadlow Manor says it is with great regret to the community, our customers and our staff that we have decided to close our doors at the end of September 2023.
“The current management has been trying to make this business a success since 2001 but, despite huge remodeling, renovation and marketing expenditures, has been unable to make it profitable.”
The Georgian mansion dates back to 1812 and was historically known as Leavers Manor, believed to derive from Stephen Leavers, the owner of the property in medieval times.
Currently, it is unknown how many jobs will be lost due to “operations changes” at the hotel.
A spokesperson added: “Some members of our team will be offered relocation to our other hotels if a suitable vacancy and role is available.”
Planners for the proposed development said the proposal will ‘improve the setting of the listed building’ by removing the modern extension which is ‘currently having a negative impact’.
He concluded: “This will improve the site by reusing more of the original garden space and generally increasing the amount of green space.
“The design aesthetic has been developed in a traditional style with details and materials designed to complement the original Georgian house.
“The landscaping has been carefully designed to incorporate the planting of native species and to allow for a net gain in biodiversity.
“The conversion of the listed building into apartments has been designed to have minimal impact on the listed house while making the necessary adaptations to meet building regulations.”
See the plans here, with reference 22/01237/FL.