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Plans are finally approved for work to begin on former Tunbridge Wells town centre cinema site

PUBLISHED: 09:49 25 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:50 25 October 2017

Old cinema site, Tunbridge Wells

Old cinema site, Tunbridge Wells

Archant

Former ABC cinema, pulled down three years ago, will become a mix of shops, homes, restaurants and, yes, another cinema

Tunbridge Wells cinema site following demolition Tunbridge Wells cinema site following demolition

Planning permission has finally been granted for work to begin on on the former cinema site in Tunbridge Wells town centre.

Councillors at a meeting of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council last night (Tuesday) gave the go-ahead for a scheme which will see a boutique cinema, shops, medical centre and residential accommodation built on the site which sits at the top of Mount Pleasant - directly opposite the council chambers.

The cinema closed in 2000 and the site has been at the centre of numerous false dawns, eventually becoming one of the spa town’s most infamous ‘grot spots’ as the abandoned building simply stood empty for years.

A number of plans were touted, but plans never progressed.

In 2014, however, the building was finally demolished fuelling hopes work could start on transforming the site for future use.

Now plans submitted by Altitude Real Estate have been given the green light.

They will see shop space at street level, with restaurants on the first floor, leading to a three-screen cinema.The upper floors would have at least 99 apartments.

Further space couuld become either office and residential space or a medical centre.

Councillor Alan McDermott, cabinet member with responsibility for planning said: “I am sure most people will be thinking ‘it’s about time’ and I am in complete agreement. The scheme is well thought through and considered viable for this site, I look forward to seeing work commence and the grot spot become history.”

Stephen Tillman, director for Altitude, added: “We welcome the planning committee’s decision. We were committed to presenting a scheme that would win favour with the committee and reflect the views of the majority of people who participated in the consultation events we held.

“There is real excitement regarding the amount of investment being made in Tunbridge Wells and our scheme is a further vote of confidence in the future prosperity of such an attractive location.”

Altitude hopes work on site will commence towards the end of 2018 and the scheme will take approximately two and a half years to build.

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