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Hotel, spa and wedding venue planned for golf club

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Plans have been unveiled to launch a hotel, spa, wedding venue and turf academy at one of the country’s top golfing destinations.

The London Project, which would see a massive expansion of the London Golf Club in Ash, hopes to create Kent’s first health and wellbeing-focused leisure destination.

A retreat and spa could be built at London Golf Club. Photo credit: London Golf Club
A retreat and spa could be built at London Golf Club. Photo credit: London Golf Club
South Ash Manor at London Golf Club will be refurbished as part of the plans. Photo credit: London Golf ClubSouth Ash Manor at London Golf Club will be refurbished as part of the plans. Photo credit: London Golf Club
South Ash Manor at London Golf Club will be refurbished as part of the plans. Photo credit: London Golf Club

Close to Brands Hatch and Millwall Football Club, the area is being seen as part of “a strategic sports corridor that is emerging along the M20” after Millwall was granted permission to build a new training ground in Fawkham Road, West Kingsdown last October.

Meanwhile, Pedham Place, on the outskirts of Swanley, is wanted for a 28,000-seater rugby stadium complex, rumoured to be for former top-flight giants Wasps, as part of the local authority’s emerging Local Plan.

The London Project aims to enhance the existing facilities at the London Golf Club – located on the border of the districts of Sevenoaks and Tonbridge and Malling – and hopes to attract major global events.

The plans – which have now gone out to a public consultation – include a new 240-bedroom hotel and spa with lodge accommodation, the restoration of the Grade II*-listed South Ash Manor as a wedding venue, the provision of health and wellbeing-focused leisure amenities and a Sports Turf Academy providing training opportunities plus a 3G artificial pitch.

A pavilion will create access to a range of pursuits including a new natural swimming lake, racket sports and equestrian facilities.

Plans to expand London Golf Club are part of an emerging sports corridor along the A20. Photo credit: London Golf ClubPlans to expand London Golf Club are part of an emerging sports corridor along the A20. Photo credit: London Golf Club
Plans to expand London Golf Club are part of an emerging sports corridor along the A20. Photo credit: London Golf Club

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According to the London Golf Club, the aspiration to improve facilities at Stansted Lane is a “longstanding one”.

Planning permission was granted by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in 2011 for the delivery of a new 130-bed hotel, 20 staff bedrooms, spa, restaurant, ballroom and conference facilities.

In March 2013, planning permission was granted by the same local authority to relocate the driving range to the eastern side of Ash Lane with a new access/underpass providing direct access, a 9-hole golf course and diversion of the public right of way.

Some limited works were undertaken in relation to both planning permissions, but they were not constructed.

There are big plans for London Golf Club near Brands Hatch. Photo credit: London Golf ClubThere are big plans for London Golf Club near Brands Hatch. Photo credit: London Golf Club
There are big plans for London Golf Club near Brands Hatch. Photo credit: London Golf Club

The London Golf Club says the new proposals aim to significantly improve on the previous plans, ensuring they meet the latest needs and provide state-of-the-art facilities.

While the site is located within the greenbelt, meaning there are development restrictions in place, it considers there is a strong case, or “very special circumstances” in planning terminology, for this development – particularly in light of the existing planning consents.

Established in 1994, the London Golf Club hosts two championship courses designed by American golfing great Jack Nicklaus, and is renowned for hosting the 2008 and 2009 European Open Championships, as well as the 2014 World Matchplay.

The proposals have been designed to ensure global events will continue to be attracted to the venue.

Planning applications are due to be submitted to both Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and Sevenoaks District Council this summer.

If approved the club expects to “welcome the community” by 2028.

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