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A new cinema will form part of £80m redevelopment of ABC site

By Alan Smith

Plans for the re-development of the former ABC cinema site in Tunbridge Wells have been approved.

Councillors at a special meeting of the town’s planning committee on Tuesday gave the green light to a scheme from Altitude Real Estate.

The £80m development will include a new cinema, run by boutique cinema operator Everyman, with three screens, a bar and restaurant.

An artist's impression of what the The Belvedere development will look like

An artist's impression of what the The Belvedere development will look like

The seven-storey 165,000 sq ft development, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, will be known as The Belvedere and stand on the corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Church Road.

It will provide 26,000 sq ft of street-level shops, 20,000 sq ft of podium level cafes and restaurants, the 10,000 sq ft cinema, a medical centre or office, and around 100 apartments set around a private landscaped garden area.

Councillors were told the scheme could completely transform the central part of the town centre - which has lain dormant since the turn of the century.

Stephen Tillman, director of Altitude Real Estate, said: “We are delighted that our proposals for The Belvedere have been supported by the planning committee.

"We were committed to presenting a scheme that reflects the views of the majority of the people who participated in the consultation events we held.

The former ABC Cinema became a 'grot spot' of the town before the building was demolished

The former ABC Cinema became a 'grot spot' of the town before the building was demolished

“The Belvedere will create a vibrant new place in the heart of this lovely town in which people can live, shop and relax, as well as bridging the divide between the traditional retail areas of the Pantiles and Royal Victoria Place.”

Mr Tillman said: “There is still a lot of work to do and more detailed design to be undertaken.

"However, it is hoped that construction could start towards the end of next year and is likely to take approximately two and a half years to complete.”

*The borough council is also considering plans to develop a new civic centre and theatre a short distance away in Mount Pleasant Avenue and the Calverley Grounds.

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