Additional reporting by KMTV's Abby Hook
A hotel boss says he has turned down a £1 million opportunity to house asylum seekers - as he "couldn't think of anything more absurd".
Richard Martin, of the Blazing Donkey Country Hotel in Ham, near Sandwich, was approached by an agency which said it was acting on behalf of the Home Office.
He says he was offered £1,080,000 and a guarantee of 100% occupancy for 12 months at the hotel, which recently won a prestigious AA rosette for its food and service.
But Mr Martin told KentOnline that accepting the "fast buck" would have meant cancelling hundreds of weddings - with the popular venue already booked into 2025.
He would have also had to make most of the hotel's 25 staff redundant, as the deal was only for accommodation without the need for catering.
Mr Martin, who co-owns the business with wife Sherry, said: "I couldn’t think of anything more absurd.
“We spent 30 years building up the business but the money doesn’t come into it.
"We didn't consider the offer for at all as our reputation would have been shattered overnight.
“Quite honestly my wife and I felt repulsed and very angry that they would think I would ever consider it."
It comes as the Home Office scrambles to find accommodation across the country to house asylum seekers, with more than 40,000 people crossing the Channel on small boats this year.
A number of hotels in Kent have already been booked up to relieve the pressure, on top of hundreds living at Napier Barracks in Folkestone.
Mr Martin says asylum seekers need to be looked after - but the use of hotels is the wrong approach.
After being emailed by third-party hotel booking agents, he spoke to the company on the phone this week. He says it confirmed it had approached the 22-bedroom Blazing Donkey in order to secure accommodation on behalf of the Home Office as soon as possible.
Mr Martin told KentOnline the hotel is financially sound and profitable, so accepting the seven-figure opportunity would be a "12-month fast buck."
He says the hotel has about 100 weddings and more than 8,000 guests staying every year.
“I could not believe they even approached us as they must have known that such a move would mean letting down all our couples who have weddings booked for next year, not to mention our hotel, restaurant and glampsite clients," Mr Martin added.
“The government are effectively becoming disruptors in the hotel industry.
"I hope no other hotelier in the county worth their salt considers this sly approach.”
Restaurant manager Christopher Cooper says it would have been a "betrayal of the staff".
"We knew Richard and Sherry wouldn't go down this route," he said.
"We've taken in refugees here, we've taken in homeless people at Christmas - but this would have been a betrayal of the staff and we've got hundreds of brides and grooms booked over the next few years."
The Home Office declined to comment on whether or not an offer was made by a third party to house asylum seekers at the Blazing Donkey.