New owners take over cinema site to develop retirement village

New owners take over cinema site to develop retirement village

Retirement Villages Group (RVG), owned by AXA IM Real Assets, part of AXA Group – whose subsidiary AXA Health is the largest employer in Tunbridge Wells – has signed an agreement to acquire the 1.5-acre former site of the ABC Cinema on Mount Pleasant Road.

The land has been left derelict for more than 20 years since the cinema closed and has changed hands numerous times.

RVG intends to develop a new integrated retirement community on the land and say they will work with the local community to bring forward a scheme that will deliver much-needed regeneration for this complicated site.

A similar retirement complex called the Belvedere was in development until September 2020 when Elysian Residences pulled out of the scheme.

RVG is proposing to develop between 150-180 apartments, alongside a café, restaurant and wellness facilities available to both residents and the public.

In addition, the proposals include plans for retail units fronting Mount Pleasant Road which, combined with this new community, will significantly reactivate this long-dormant location.

There will be an emphasis on creating buildings which reflect the strong local heritage, positioned in attractive open spaces that are integrated with the local community.

A public consultation on the proposals will take place in 2022, with more details to be confirmed in the New Year.

James Ahearne, Development Director at Retirement Villages Group said: “This site matches our vision for the future of retirement living which is centred on integrated community living close to town and city centres. We will be working closely with the council officers, members and the wider community to secure planning permission and start the work of turning an eyesore into a vibrant community hub.”

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