Famous tower open to public again – but for how long?

Chris Burke

After a period of uncertainty, visitors are returning to enjoy the stunning views over the Tonbridge area from the newly re-opened Hadlow Tower.

But its future is still unclear after its owner, the Vivat Trust, went into liquidation, raising fears that this could be the last summer the public has a chance to see this unique Victorian building.

It is open to the public each Thursday, from 11am, and booking is advised as there is limited space within the folly, which also features an exhibition about its intriguing history.

Caroline Elcombe, who manages the property’s visitor centre, said she is really pleased that the tower has re-opened to the public after several months of negotiations.

Having being part of the action group which campaigned for around 15 years for it to be restored and be publically accessible, she remains hopeful a buyer can be found for the tower.

The Grade I listed property had been placed on the market in May, after its owners, the heritage group Vivat Trust, went into liquidation last August.

The tower had been sold to the organisation by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, which placed a compulsory purchase order on the folly in order to save it from falling into further ruin.

The Heritage Lottery fund agreed to give £4.2million for its restoration but the Vivat Trust, which manages more than a dozen historic homes around the country, fell into financial difficulty, forcing the sale of its assets.

It had rented out Hadlow Tower’s exclusive accommodation within the structure for up to £2,000 a week.

To book a viewing of the tower, visit www.hadlowtower.com or call 07913861979.

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