Published: 00:00, 26 August 2014
| Updated: 09:20, 26 August 2014
Plans have been submitted to demolish a town centre hotel said to have a connection to notorious gangsters the Kray twins.
The Best Western Russell Hotel, in Boxley Road, has applied to Maidstone council for permission to flatten the site and replace the 42-bedroom Victorian building with 14 detached houses.
The three-star property said it can no longer compete with three rival businesses, which have been built in Maidstone since 2000 – the Village Urban Resort in Castle View, the Premier Inn in London and the Travelodge in St Peter’s Street.
It employees 12 full-time staff and another 15 part-time.
Manager Brian Nelson said: “For at least the next six months, people can book to receive an excellent service for the same great value. It’s business as usual.” He said there was no suggestion work would start immediately if the plans were approved. The landmark was sold last summer to anonymous buyer.
It was advertised by Christie and Co for £2.75m, but the final selling price was not revealed.
At the time of the sale, an agent confirmed the property had a link with the notorious Kray family but said “nobody knows precisely the circumstances”.
East End-born twins Ronald and Reggie Kray were involved in a series of armed robberies, arson attacks and violent assaults, including torture and the murders of Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie and George Cornell.
It’s understood their mother Violet would stay at the hotel while visiting Reggie at Maidstone Prison.
He died in August 2000, just eight weeks after being released from another prison, suffering from cancer. Developers suggest the area around the hotel is now predominately residential and not suitable for a commercial building.
They have teamed up with Clarendon Homes to propose building nine four-bedroom, three three-bedroom and two five-bedroom houses.
If the application is given the go-ahead, the development would include 28 car parking bays and 56 spaces for bicycles.
People are invited to view the designs at the hotel on Thursday, between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Representatives will be at the exhibition to answer any questions.
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