County’s largest conference venue set for major capacity boostPlans have been announced for an investment of £1.5 million at the Kent Event Centre, strengthening its position as the largest and most flexible conference venue in the county.
The Kent County Agricultural Society confirmed the go-ahead for the project during the Kent County Show, which attracted 75,000 visitors to the Detling site between 12-14 July.
The new structure will replace the existing Kent Pavilion building which was opened by the Duke of Kent in 2004. The new single span Kent Pavilion will be 44 metres wide and 72 metres long. It will seat up to 4,000 people in theatre style. Work will start in October and the new Pavilion will be officially opened at next summer’s Kent County Show.
Glyn Charlton, the KCAS honorary finance director, says: “This investment will further enhance the already excellent range of facilities here at the Kent Event Centre.” The project, funded by a Barclays Bank loan, is to be built by the Kent-based company Cardy. The project will be completed by the end of April 2014 with no disruption to current events.
The Kent Event Centre has been at the Kent Showground at Detling, near Maidstone since 1964. Event Centre Manager Alison Wallington said the investment will underline the Kent Event Centre’s status as the premier venue in the region. The last major expansion came in June 2011 with the opening of the Clive Emson Conference Centre.
Alison said the ongoing programme of investment in facilities at the centre, boosting choice and capacity for clients, was paying dividends in attracting more bookings. “By investing in facilities and maintaining a clear focus on customer service we are enjoying a hugely successful year, with bookings into 2014 looking very healthy.
“Businesses and event organisers are demanding choice, flexibility and value for money. While repeat bookings underpin our calendar, a number of new events are also being introduced. “We are hosting over 60 public events this year plus conferences, training courses and meetings. While there continues to be pressure on budgets, organisers place a high priority on getting value for money and that’s where we score heavily. No other venue can offer the flexibility to cater for such a variety of functions. From large-scale Asian weddings to property auctions, from baby and toddler shows to Christmas parties, we really can provide whatever the customer wants,” adds Alison.
Ease of access by road and rail and the availability of hotels also make the Kent Event Centre a great choice for corporate events.
Conference facilities comprise the Clive Emson Conference Centre (1,700 sq m), the John Hendry Pavilion (1,750sq m), the Astor Pavilion (151 sq m) and the Kent Pavilion (3,000 sq m). There are also six major meeting rooms. There is free parking on site for 10,000 vehicles.