Published: 00:01, 26 May 2018
Striking new images reveal how an upmarket hotel could look as speculation mounts over which company will run it.
The 120-room building will go on the corner of Beaver Road and Victoria Road, opposite Ashford International Station.
Planning permission for the structure was granted in 2016, but the identity of the hotel operator has remained unknown ever since.
Four hotel chains are in talks about running the site - with Hampton by Hilton among the favourites.
Developers at the Rellish Ashford Ltd company, which is building the site, have applied to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to add another storey to the hotel.
In documents sent to the authority, architects submitted plans showing the hotel in Hampton by Hilton branding.
But Rellish’s Philip Farnham says other operators are in discussions with the developers.
“We have re-submitted the application because we have made some changes to the plans to make the hotel more functional,” he said.
“At the moment there are four companies interested in the hotel, with two being serious contenders.
“Construction of the hotel is set to begin at the end of September or in early October and we hope it will be completed by March 2020.”
Hampton by Hilton - which is part of the famous Hilton Worldwide group - is one of the UK’s fastest growing hotel chains, offering mid-market accommodation.
The majority of its 2,300 sites are in the US but it added new hotels in eight UK cities last year, including Edinburgh, London, Bristol and Aberdeen.
ABC has already passed an application for a five-storey hotel in Victoria Road, but Rellish bosses now hope to add another floor.
It would allow them to build a sixth storey if approved.
A decision on the amended scheme is expected to be made towards the end of July.
Twenty-four rooms will be built on each floor, as well as a fitness room, breakfast and lounge area and a ‘work zone’.
When the plans were originally approved in 2016, ABC’s planning committee members debated the appearance of the new building.
Cllr Bernard Heyes raised fears over the “hideous yellow cladding” on the outside which reminded him of the Travelodge in Maidstone.
But Cllr Graham Galpin said: “This is an important keystone to the south of the town, and will be part of a new generation of railway hotels.
“I’m sure some of us have stayed in the tired old railway hotels in the past, but this site is along a 21st century railway line, with a 21st century station, so it will be a 21st century hotel.”
The building will become the final piece of the jigsaw for the so-called Victoria Way scheme, which includes a new Aldi supermarket, more than 200 apartments, shops and a new Chapel Down brewery visitor centre.
Construction of Aldi and the brewery have already begun, with the German supermarket opening in the summer.
To view the hotel plans, visit www.ashford.gov.uk and search for the 18/00724/AS application.
The deadline for public comments is Friday, June 15.
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