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Regeneration of ABC cinema site in Tunbridge Wells moves a step closer

Redevelopment proposals for a former town centre cinema have taken a step closer after council chiefs gave the green light for plans to be submitted.

Retirement Villages Group (RVG) is aiming to revamp the old ABC cinema site in the heart of Tunbridge Wells town centre.

A view of what RVG is proposing
A view of what RVG is proposing

The developers asked Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for a "screening opinion" on whether it was necessary to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment with the planning application, and the council quickly ruled that it would not.

Environmental Impact Assessments are costly and take a long time to prepare, but with no need for one, the company can now progress with submitting its application.

The public were given a taste of what it will propose at a public consultation event back in April.

RVG is looking to build a care retirement community of approximately 165 dwellings in an eight-story block, together with a number of shops on the ground level.

It will includes a café and "wellness facilities" as well as a gym and swimming pool that will be open to the public as well as residents.

How the site looks today
How the site looks today

There would be basement parking for 60 cars.

The site on the corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Church Road has been left vacant for 23 years. A number of regeneration schemes by different companies have been proposed over the years but have not materialised.

The last proposal, prepared by Elysian Residences, gained planning permission for 99 flats, but the firm pulled out before building them.

The old ABC cinema closed in 1999 and was demolished in 2014.

The screening opinion application can be viewed on the Tunbridge Wells council website under reference number 22/01547.

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