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Calls to refurbish King's Hall in Herne Bay after not a single couple booked a wedding

By Jack Dyson

There are calls for the King’s Hall to be refurbished after it was revealed not a single couple booked the venue for a wedding last year.

Local authority papers presented to the city council’s Community Committee last Wednesday said this had created a “significant hole” in the seafront site’s budget.

The lack of interest was attributed to recent speculation surrounding the hall’s future.

The King's Hall
The King's Hall

But Cllr Ian Stockley, who is a member of the King’s Hall working group, says there were just six bookings the previous year.

He believes the low numbers are due to the building’s dated aesthetics and packages available to couples.

“Work needs to be done to make sure the wedding packages are relevant in terms of price and what is being offered,” he said.

“The venue would also have to look pretty damn good to encourage brides to want to go there for their weddings.

“We have to provide a competitive offering, otherwise people won’t come.”

At last month’s Herne Bay Forum, council officers revealed they were hoping to redecorate the main hall in January.

But Cllr Stockley says the working group also wants an orangery facing the sea to be built at the venue.

Beltinge councillor Ian Stockley
Beltinge councillor Ian Stockley

“Although there are lovely sea views, accessing them isn’t easy at the moment,” he said.

“What we as a working group would dearly love – and there’s no money in the budget for it – is for an orangery to be built with a patio with seating to be installed beyond that on the bank looking out to sea.

"It’d be good for wedding venues and to make it a more attractive place in the summer.”

Last week, councillors approved plans to continue running the King’s Hall for a further three years.

The city council had been considering whether to run it in partnership with a community body, use it as a village hall, close it, sell it, or rent it for commercial purposes.

It hopes to generate £469,300 in financial year 2020/21 – almost £180,000 more than 2017/18’s takings.

The council also forecasts that its annual subsidies for the King’s Hall will fall below £70,000 over the next three years.

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