Page Updated:- Tuesday, 30 November, 2021.


Earliest 1948-

Croft Hotel

Close 2016

(Name to)

Canterbury Road


Croft Hotel 2019

Above photo by Andy Jones 2019.


From the By Dan Wright, 23 January 2018.

Ashford: Plans to demolish The Croft Hotel in Kennington are rejected.

Controversial plans to demolish a hotel in Kennington have been turned down by the council.

Developers wanted to build nine four-bedroom homes on the site of The Croft Hotel in Canterbury Road, which is opposite the junction with The Street.

But planning officers at Ashford Borough Council (ABC) have turned down the proposal, calling the hotel a “valuable tourist facility” which should not be lost.

Croft Hotel 2018

Plans to demolish The Croft hotel have been turned down.

Cllr Phil Sims, who represents the Kennington ward, said: “I think it is great that The Croft application has been refused because it would be an absolute blight on the area.

“The residents think it would be absolutely stupid to put something there. The hotel could be an excellent venue as a restaurant – many of us have used it as a restaurant and would like to continue to do so.

“To turn the hotel into a housing estate, or an access point to a housing estate, at the crossroads with Canterbury Road would be utterly ridiculous.”

The Croft has 17 rooms and a lounge and bar.

It also contains the La Dolce Vita Italian restaurant and is a popular venue for weddings and special family celebrations and occasions.

In their report, an ABC planning officer said: “The proposal, which involves the demolition of a well proportioned and attractive building and its replacement with standard house types, would represent an unsympathetic and incongruous form of development that fails to respond positively to its context and the established character of the street scene.

“Consequently, it would result in a visually intrusive and harmful form of development.

“Further, the proposal would result in the loss of an employment site for which alternative appropriate employment uses have not been adequately considered or discounted.”


From the By Georgia Woolf, 6 January 2019.

The Croft Hotel in Canterbury Road, Kennington, to become country pub and seafood restaurant.

A pair of renowned restaurateurs with a proven track record of turning around ailing pubs plan to spend up to 4m transforming a former hotel.

Husband-and-wife team Alex and Helen Bensley have bought The Croft Hotel in Canterbury Road, Kennington, and want to turn it into a country pub with an attached seafood restaurant.

The pair - who turned the nearby "Golden Ball" into the "Old Mill" in 2012 - sold five of their restaurants to Shepherd Neame for 11.9 million in 2016.

They have now turned their attentions to The Croft, with plans to remodel the existing building into a cosy country pub with open log fires and local ales and beers.

Mr Bensley said: “My vision for The Croft is to provide a service for the more affluent, business and mature market, which is largely uncatered for in Ashford.

“Unlike the present and expanding over abundance of national eateries, we will offer a menu based around fresh local fish, shellfish and farm produce, with meat from Marchants of Bethersden, as well as a super, fresh vegetarian and vegan menu.”

Croft inside 2019

Inside The Croft which is being turned into a pub and restaurant.

As well as updating the existing building, Mr Bensley has applied to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to also extend the site.

If the scheme goes to plan, the pub could open in late autumn, creating 75 jobs.

Mr Bensley - who paid 1.8m for the site once legal costs were taken into account - added: “Subject to council approval, the existing building will be remodelled separately as a quality and traditional Kentish and dog friendly country pub, which will be cosy with open log fires, local ales and beers and a cellar of very good wines.

“There may be a bar menu, but it will not be a restaurant just a good pub, with very comfy chairs.

“Separately, the new part of the building will consist of a huge kitchen, as all of the food will be prepared on site.

“There will be a dedicated oyster and shellfish bar, as well as a large dining room, consisting of booths, and free standing, spacious tables.”

An outside seating area on a heated terrace is also planned, as well as boutique-style accommodation in lodges at the side of the former hotel.

Croft 2019

How The Croft looks now.

If approved, 175 diners could be catered for, with 125 in the main restaurant area and 50 in the bar area. It would open from 11am to 11pm seven days a week, with a new car park proposed.

Last year, controversial plans to demolish the hotel were turned down by the council.

Developers wanted to build nine four-bedroom homes on the site, but planning officers at ABC dismissed the proposal, calling the hotel a “valuable tourist facility” which should not be lost.

Mark Godding

Manager Mark Godding inside The Croft

In 2016, Mr Bensley sold the "Old Mill," the "Oak on the Green" and the "Fish on the Green" in Bearsted, the "Chequers on the Green" in High Halden and the "Swan and Dog" in Great Chart to Shepherd Neame.

He has previously transformed numerous other pubs, including The Hooden Horse in Great Chart.

On the planning application submitted to the council, Lynne Webb - who lives in Bethersden - says she supports the plan.

She said: "We are losing so many pub/restaurants it would be a great asset to Ashford to have a high-class pub, especially in a refurbished run-down hotel which was becoming an eye-sore.

"Putting back in to use an old redundant building giving it new life is a fantastic idea."

Croft inside 2019

How The Croft looks inside.

Dave Paterson, of Brabourne Lees, agreed, saying: "There has been concern for some time over the fate of The Croft so it is great news that the building is to be rejuvenated."





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