ABC Cinema site developers open exhibition on new plans this week

Olympian Louis Smith
DERELICT: A view from the ABC site

Retirement Villages Group (RVG), who are owned by AXA – Tunbridge Wells’ largest employer – announced at the end of last year they were to redevelop the former site of the ABC Cinema on Mount Pleasant Road last year.

The site has been derelict since the cinema was closed more than 20 years ago and has changed hands numerous times since.

RVG plan to build between 150-180 later living apartments on the site, alongside a café, restaurant and wellness facilities available to both residents and the public.

The project is a larger version of the plans drew up by previous developers Elysian Residences, who had wanted to build around 100 apartments but pulled out of the deal during the pandemic.

The later living developer is now converting the former Arriva bus depot.

The RVG consultation will provide people who live and work in the borough with an opportunity to review and provide their feedback on the emerging designs for the site, as well as ideas on the role that the development could play in the town centre.

Caroline Keiller, Development Manager at Retirement Villages Group, said: “We believe that our proposals for this site will be a positive addition to the town centre.

“In addition to new homes, we will also be reactivating this long-dormant space in a vital location for Tunbridge Wells, providing commercial space for local, independent businesses and a new publicly accessible courtyard, linking Mount Pleasant Road and Church Road.

“The scheme will also bring other opportunities to create spaces where people can come together, socialise and take part in leisure and exercise activities.

“We need the community’s help in deciding what those uses should be. We look forward to having that conversation and sharing our vision over the coming weeks.”

RVG will be holding a public exhibition at Trinity Theatre in Church Road this coming Thursday (March 31) from 3pm to 8pm, and Saturday (April 2) from 10am to 1pm.

There will also be a webinar this Wednesday (March 30) between 6pm and 7.30pm.

If people have any questions or would like to register interest in attending the webinar, the project team can be contacted on:
0800 130 33 80 or by email at:

Details of the proposals are also available for comment online from today (Monday March 28) at:

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