Published: 15:06, 13 January 2020
| Updated: 15:29, 13 January 2020
More than £220,000 has been spent on security at a derelict hotel which was meant to be transformed into a new petrol station.
The Tollgate Hotel on the A2, near Gravesend, was shut in 2006 and hasn't been used since.
However, since 2014 a total of £221,417.56 has been forked out to Mitie Group PLC on paying for a guard and electronic security equipment.
Highways England, who purchased the site in 2006 for the A2 Bean to Cobham improvement scheme have paid more than half the costs, being left with a £121,417 bill.
The excess £100,000 was provided by BP Oil UK who purchased the hotel in May.
From December 2017 to 2018 the oil and gas giant spent £1,000 a week on the security measures and this doubled from December 2018 to May last year.
Mat Wells, Highways England estates advisor said: "We are committed to managing the properties we own responsibly, and we are pleased that we were able to complete the sale of the site of the old Tollgate Hotel last May.
"Vacant properties can be an easy target for vandals and trespassers" - Mat Wells
"Part of the hotel's land was needed to widen the A2 between Bean and Cobham, and it was used as a site compound during construction.
"Vacant properties can be an easy target for vandals and trespassers and keeping the site secure since the upgrade opened has helped to keep it in a condition fit for purchase while we negotiated its sale."
Controversial plans to knock down the 114-room hotel were discussed at a Gravesham council meeting in September.
An appeal against the plans, after they were approved for a third time in February 2018, has been sent to the planning inspectorate to deal with.
At the time, almost 1,000 people objected to the proposal for the 2.5-acre plot, off Watling Street, Gravesend, which would have seen the hotel torn down.
However, approval was rescinded due to the potential for the site to come back into use as a hotel and now the government Planning Inspectorate will decide.
Plans for the development have been scuppered numerous times since its original application.
In 2014 and 2015 a larger scale scheme, which would have seen a McDonald’s drive-thru and M&S Food court built alongside the garage, were approved by Gravesham before its decisions were quashed on appeal.
More by this authorSean McPolin