Not the first trial in folly’s history
Recent worries are by no means the first difficulty in the tower’s turbulent past since being badly damaged in The Great Storm of 1987.
At first it was left to deteriorate, later having its lantern removed in 1996. A decade afterwards, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council announced it would issue a compulsory pur- chase order to save it, and by 2011 had sold it to historic holiday home letting agent The Vivat Trust for £1.
Following a £4.1 million restoration, including considerable contributions from The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England, as well as thousands donated privately, SHTAG ran a visitor’s centre at the site.
The Vivat Trust leased the property to holidaymakers before going into liquidation in 2015. Restoration on the 130ft Grade-I listed castle, which was used as a watchtower by the Home Guard and Royal Observer Corps during the Second World War, was completed in February 2013. It was shortlisted for the Kent Design Awards the following year.