Published: 15:40, 29 April 2022
| Updated: 08:07, 01 May 2022
Plans to house asylum seekers at a recently closed hotel in Aylesford have been ditched.
The Home Office had proposed to use the Larkfield Priory Hotel in London Road for immigration purposes but has decided against the move after an MP stepped in.
Chatham and Aylesford's Tracey Crouch sought clarification from the Home Secretary about the use of the hotel after people claimed they had had weddings and bookings cancelled at the last minute.
The Tory MP says she and the borough council were not consulted over the plans, although they had been told about the idea and were assured they would hear from the Home Office.
She said: "There has been a lot of speculation on various local resident groups about the proposed use of the Larkfield Priory Hotel for immigration purposes.
"Neither I nor the local council were consulted about this, although we had received notification that it was being considered and the Home Office would be in touch.
"Residents started to have bookings cancelled and some expressed concern.
"Given the strong views on both sides of the immigration debate I wanted to seek clarity of intent and highlight local views as well as practical concerns about the use of the hotel to house illegal immigrants.
"Following conversations with the Home Secretary I have received notification that the Larkfield Priory Hotel will now not be used to accommodate asylum seekers.
"I hope people will understand the sensitivity around these matters and the reason for why, until now, I have been unable to make public comment on the matter.
"I am sad that people have had bookings cancelled as a consequence of the Home Office discussions with the hotel and hope that those who wish to can rebook them accordingly."
One bride-to-be told KentOnline how she was due to be married at Bradbourne House next Saturday and had booked eight rooms for two nights, but was told last weekend the hotel had closed.
She claims she has lost £1,230 in the fiasco.
Larkfield Priory Hotel has been approached for comment.
The hotel hit headlines in October after a night porter at the venue went on a near-£100,000 wrecking spree at the hotel.