A soon to be married couple have been left ‘devastated and disgusted’ after their wedding reception was suddenly canceled by the venue they had booked.
Proposals to turn the Larkfield Priory Hotel, Aylesford, into accommodation for asylum seekers have scuppered the bride-to-be’s plan for the big day.
Ditton duo Bev Collins and Paul Curtis, 61, were due to marry at Ditton Church in September and then travel to the London Road Hotel, but received the shocking news that it had been called off two weeks ago .
Now, after being pressured to find a new venue, Bev, who has lived in the village for two decades, has slammed the hotel and claimed he still owes £200 on a £2,500 payment already made.
“We were shocked when one night in April we saw the hotel was closed to the public,” the 51-year-old said.
“I immediately contacted the manager and got a generic response saying it had closed and they were planning to tell us in a few days.
“We were never told why it was closed except that it was for a private function. But we heard lots of rumours, including a former employee I knew who claimed a lot of staff had been made redundant.
“We deserve a proper apology…”
“We are both absolutely devastated and disgusted by the way we have been treated.
“We tried calling a few times but never got a response, you can imagine we were worried as we had already paid over £2,500.”
Ms Collins contacted Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch, who had previously advised plans for the immigration center had been scrapped, and said she was a real help and understood their displeasure.
But the couple, who moved to the Village Hotel in Maidstone, are still awaiting an apology and explanation.
She added: “We were so lucky that the Village Hotel had the date available and we booked there.
“Unfortunately, it’s much more expensive, and a wedding that we could afford is getting more and more expensive.
“We managed to get some of our money back but for some reason they are still holding £200.
“We have sent several emails and are constantly trying to call. My partner went up to the hotel, but it is still closed.
“We feel we deserve a proper apology as well as the rest of our money. We also feel that we should be compensated for our extra costs, but more than that for the stress it caused. »
Tory MP Tracey Crouch said she and the borough council had not been consulted about plans to house asylum seekers there, although they had been made aware of the idea and had assured that they would hear from the Home Office.
She previously said: ‘There has been a lot of speculation from various local resident groups about the proposed use of the Larkfield Priory Hotel for immigration purposes.
“Neither I nor the local council have been consulted on this, although we have been informed that this is being considered and that the Home Office will be in contact.
“Residents have started to see their reservations canceled and some have expressed concern.
“Given the strong opinions on both sides of the immigration debate, I wanted to clarify intentions and highlight local opinions as well as practical concerns regarding the use of the hotel to house illegal immigrants.
“Following conversations with the Home Secretary, I have been informed that the Larkfield Priory Hotel will no longer be used to accommodate asylum seekers.
“I hope people will understand the sensitivity of these issues and why, so far, I have not been able to comment publicly on this.
“I am sad that reservations have been canceled following the Home Office’s discussions with the hotel and hope those who wish can re-book accordingly.”