Approved at a recent MBC Policy and Resources Committee Meeting the proposed plans include the creation of a boutique hotel with restaurants and bars along with a state of the art wedding and conference venue in the heart of the County Town.
To ensure that the historic building can continue to be maintained and protected for the future, new uses that were both economically viable and aligned to the overall development of the surrounding area of Maidstone were considered by the Council.
Mark Green, MBC Director of Finance and Business Improvement said:
The Council is proud to own the Palace, a unique building at the heart of an area with great historical significance, including All Saints Church and the Tithe Barn (Carriage Museum). We want to bring the area to life and to draw in residents and visitors.
The Balfour Lynn proposals are to create a luxury boutique hotel based within the Palace grounds with restaurant/conference/wedding and training facility within the Palace building itself whilst remaining open to the public as a well-loved historic site. It will also include a wine and viticultural educational centre with the key component being English wine and spirits with the focus on Kent based producers and locally sourced food.
Richard Balfour-Lynn said:
The Archbishop’s Palace will become both the champion and beating heart of Kent wines, spirits and local food produce.
Part of our plans will be to run tutored wine tastings as well as wine making and viticultural courses from the venue with The Palace becoming the centre of the Kent wine tourist sector, attracting visitors from London and further afield. Authenticity will lie at the heart of the offer.
As one of Kent’s most historic buildings dating back to the 12th century, the Archbishop’s Palace has extensive gardens and outbuildings and the plan will be to create three new buildings for luxury bedrooms in the grounds overlooking the River Medway and the River Len.
The Grade 1 listed building is owned by MBC and has been let to Kent County Council for use as a Registry Office. The palace is at the heart of a group of medieval buildings of great historical significance, including All Saints Church and the Archbishop’s Tithe Barn and Stables (now the Carriage Museum).
The Palace is due to return to the possession of the Council later this year and MBC had invited expressions of interest following a public consultation in 2021 asking people for their thoughts to help determine the future use of the Palace.
Balfour-Lynn has an exclusive six-month contract to develop the plans with Maidstone Borough Council and its planning team.