The King Charles Hotel Development in Gillingham receives backlash

A proposed redevelopment of the King Charles Hotel in Brompton Road, Gillingham has met some harsh criticism following submission of new plans to develop a four storey block of 57 flats on the site.

It is proposed that this block will be built in place of the existing Function Rooms building which hosted a very successful nightclub in the 90s, The Excalibur. Demolition of this section of the building would make way for 32 one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units and 1 three-bedroom unit. These would be a mixture of private dwellings (75%) and affordable housing (25%).

Additionally, the plans add a fourth storey to the hotel which would make way for an additional 25 guest rooms in the hotel. 181 parking spaces are also part of the plans, split into 65 spaces for the residents and 116 spaces for hotel guests.

But local residents and Historic England have raised concerns about the ‘problematic’ plans, citing issues with the preservation of historic grade II listed Royal Engineers Museum and the impact on the vista and conservation of the area.

Alice Brockway, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas at Historic England, is reported to have said: “This has the potential to harm the intended prominence of the Royal Engineers Museum in the townscape.”

Concerns were also flagged by Kent County Council about preservation of any potential ‘archaeological remains’ on the site which would be associated with the area’s military past. The building was erected in 1948 and was originally a Naval, Army and Air Force Institute Club (NAAFI) until closure in 1962. It then became ‘The Aurora Hotel’ and was later re-branded to the present King Charles Hotel in 1980. Historic archaeological remains have been found at both the neighbouring MidKent College site and Medway Park, so KCC’s concerns have gravitas. Additionally the site is central to the Brompton Lines Conservation Area so it seems there is weight to the conservation objections too.

The hotel doesn’t have a great reputation and I’ve heard many people say it could do with a full refurbishment. So I can only think that this regeneration would be good for the area. But I’ve not personally stayed here. Have you? What do you make of the proposal? Drop me an email or message me to let me know.  

In terms of the housing plans, this can only be a good thing for this area as demand is high thanks to the close proximity to the university and college campuses, which is what I suspect was on the developer’s mind. If approved, this development could prove to be a great investment opportunity. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the development plans…

Hasan

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