The House of Agnes hotel in Canterbury ‘will die slowly’ without eco-pods

The owners of one of Canterbury’s oldest hotels fear it will slowly die and close if it is not allowed to invest in innovative new accommodation.

Trustees are making grim predictions as they attempt to secure a building permit for six eco-pods in the back garden of 16th-century Agnes’ home in St Dunstan’s Street.

Agnes’ house in St Dunstan’s Street, Canterbury

In the proposal, their agents say the Covid crisis has “brought things to a head” for the company, which has been hit hard by a huge business loss.

“If the hotel is not allowed to expand and improve its facilities, at best it will slowly limp and continue to decline until it is no longer financially viable,” they add.

The app is for six freestanding wooden pods for two people each, with private bathroom. They would be connected to water and electricity.

Hotel general manager Sandie de Rougemont says there has been a drastic drop in the number of foreign tourists to Canterbury, who previously accounted for up to 70% of its business.

“We have also lost other business due to events such as university graduation days, and we mainly continue with an increase in the number of visitors on vacation,” she said.

An artist print showing what the pods might look like
An artist print showing what the pods might look like

The hotel currently has 25 en-suite bedrooms, one cottage bedroom in the main building and eight annex bedrooms in the outbuildings.

But Mme de Rougemont hopes that the eco-pods will constitute an additional attraction for the hotel and make it a “place of destination”.

“We have always taken pride in offering a variety of accommodations, and all of our rooms have different themes,” she said.

“Eco-pods could just help us improve our occupancy rate.

“All we’re trying to do is make the most of our space. “

Maison d'Agnès general manager Sandie de Rougemont
Maison d’Agnès general manager Sandie de Rougemont

Planning officers at the hotel claim that the plans do not involve any structural changes for the Grade II listed building.

They say the eco-pods are an “appropriate extension” of hotel facilities and are in line with council policies on supporting the economy and tourism.

The offer will be decided at a later date.

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