Long awaited plans for a development on Tunbridge Wells former ABC Cinema site have received a hostile reaction from the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society and other experts in the development world.one of whom described it as 'more akin to an industrial building.'
The scheme, which involves108 flats, 60,000 square feet of retail and a 'boutique' cinema for 500 people.
Councillor Julian Stanyer said:
"What a great pity the planning department has never got round to preparing its own Planning Brief. In my view, there is no doubt that the Council should be taking the lead, not leaving it to financially motivated speculators to dictate the future of our town. The scheme is clearly over-development of an important landmark site right in the centre of our community - whatever happened to an open space or piazza where people can meet, with fountains and architecture that excites. In my opinion, this is nothing more than an attempt to get planning consent for a maximum density scheme, which will simply be sold on to the highest bidder. I do not think that the developers have any intention at all of doing anything other than making a profit on the site, and given that they paid through the nose that is unlikely to happen. In my opinion, it could lie undeveloped for at least another five years.""