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“Problematic” development of Gillingham hotel

The function rooms at the King Charles Hotel. Photo: Ben Sutherland.
The function rooms at the King Charles Hotel. Photo: Ben Sutherland.

Plans to demolish part of a Gillingham hotel and build a block of flats have been met with concern by planning consultees.

The owners of King Charles Hotel on Brompton Road, Gillingham, have submitted plans to Medway Council. These include partly-demolishing the old nightclub to the rear of the hotel and building a 4/5 storey block for 57 flats, and additional hotel facilities of 25 bedrooms and conference facilities.

Alice Brockway of Historic England said: “Building a five storey building on the site of the former NAAFI is problematic… The scheme causes some harm to the significance of the scheduled Lines, the grade II listed Royal Engineers Museum and to the conservation area as a whole”.

The building started life as a NAAFI (Naval, Army and Air Force Institution) Club, opening its doors on 16th July 1948 for service personnel based at Brompton Barracks and the Royal Dockyard. After the NAAFI club closed, it was re-opened by two Canadian businessmen as the Aurora Hotel (after their home town, where the Northern Lights were visible), before being bought by its current family owners in 1980.

The former NAAFI Club in Gillingham. Picture: davidt / Kent History Forum
The former NAAFI Club in Gillingham. Picture: davidt / Kent History Forum

In response to the current application, Kent County Council’s Archaeology team have raised concerns about the impact the development will have on the local historical conservation area.

They state that the development area “has the potential to contain a range of buried archaeological remains associated with the military and pre-military use of the area”.

The owners of the hotel have been approached for comment.

You can see the planning documentation and submit comments on Medway Council’s planning website, searching for application MC/19/0250.