The closure of an 18th century Georgian hotel to turn it into flats has ruined a couple’s wedding plans.
But out of the blue Jim, 29, got a call from the hotel’s manager two weeks ago telling them they needed to move the wedding to an earlier date in 2023, to a new location or cancel it, as the historic venue is closing its doors next September.
Having already started to book things for their big day, including sending save the date cards, and paying for a wedding licence and photographer, the couple have been left out of pocket after paying a deposit of around £3,360 and signing contracts.
The couple were left with the awkward predicament after the Goose Green, Hadlow, which had plans to knock down part of the hotel and erect 12 new homes, decided to close.
If approved, part of the Grade-II listed Georgian building would be redeveloped into six two-bedroom flats, while a 20-bedroom extension at the rear of the building in Maidstone Road would be demolished for six four-bedroom houses.
The site would also lose 53 car parking spaces in the redevelopment.
Katherine, also 29, and Jim have been refunded their deposit but haven’t received any compensation for booking extras for the wedding.
Her father Louis, who was left angered by the whole situation, said: “The events team at Hadlow were pushing hard to get them to sign a contract and pay a deposit to secure the date and they signed and paid the money.
“But just under two weeks later Jim got a call from the events teams saying the hotel was going to be converted to flats so they needed to move it to an earlier date, location or cancel.
“Moving the date or location wasn’t an option so the event was cancelled.
“After this we received an email saying the hotel was offering a free cancellation rather than confirming they had cancelled the contract.
“I spoke to the general manager and asked the deposit be refunded immediately and a reasonable offer of compensation is made for both direct and indrect costs occured.
“But he said they weren’t offering any compensation due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ clause in the contract.”
A spokesman for Hadlow Manor said: “Hadlow Manor stated that it is with great regret to the community, our customers and our staff that we have decided to close for business at the end of September 2023.
"The current management has tried to make a success of this business since 2001 but, despite huge expenditure of remodelling, refurbishment and marketing, has not been able to make it profitable.”
The Georgian Manor dates back to 1812 and was historically known as Leavers Manor, which is thought to derive from Stephen Leaveres, the owner of the property back in medieval times.
Currently, it's not known how many jobs will be lost due to the "changing operations" at the hotel.
A spokesman added: "There will be some of our team offered relocation in our other hotels if a suitable vacancy and role is available."
Planners for the proposed development have said the proposal will “enhance the setting of the listed building” by removing the modern extension which “currently has a negative impact”.
It concluded: “It will improve the site by bringing more of the original garden space back in to use and generally increasing the amount of green space.
“The design aesthetic has been developed to a traditional style with detailing and materials designed to compliment the original Georgian house.
“The landscaping has been carefully designed to incorporate planting of native species and to allow for biodiversity net gain.
“The conversion of the listed building to flats has been designed to make minimal impact on the listed house while making the necessary adaptations to satisfy building regulations.”
View the plans at here www.tinyurl.com/planningkm, with reference 22/01237/FL.