A new hotel and kitchen garden will replace two ‘rather ugly’ 1970s accommodation blocks at Salomons.
Members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s planning committee last Wednesday granted the estate planning permission for a 56-bedroom hotel on the site of a former Victorian glasshouse within the walled garden.
The existing buildings, which provide 47 bed-rooms, will be demolished and the new hotel built partly below ground, to a design based on that of the former greenhouse.
On behalf of Salomons, planning consultant Roger Nightingale told councillors: “This is a very high-quality building.
“The owners are committed to conserving and enhancing Salomons Estate. We know there have been controversial activities and plans at Salomons in the past but I would ask members not to tar this application with the same brush.
“This will be a high-quality premises which will benefit Salomons, Southborough and Tunbridge Wells.”
Claire Mercer, who lives near Salomons, said it was ‘important the applicants address long-standing issues’, such as ‘disturbance from events’.
She said: “We’re regularly disturbed by training courses, shattering the peace.
“We only see these problems getting worse with a new hotel.”
Neighbour Elizabeth Lineker said: “Should this be approved, Salomons would potentially have carte blanche for further unsuitable events.”
But TWBC planning officer Lynda Middlemiss told councillors the proposals were ‘not likely to generate noise’, and that ‘Salomons’ certificate of lawful use allows these events’.
She added: “It’s a high-quality design, based on a historic precedent of the glasshouse, with sustainable construction techniques and high-quality materials.”
Councillors voted 13-0 to approve the plans, with two abstentions.
The planning permission granted came with conditions, including that construction traffic must leave Salomons via Southborough rather than Rusthall, to avoid issues on narrow Broomhill Road.
Andrew Daniells, chief operating officer of Salomons’ owner Markerstudy Leisure, said: “We believe the design of this new hotel celebrates the pioneering vision of David Salomons, yet also looks to an exciting future for Salomons Estate and Tunbridge Wells.”