Tunbridge Wells shopping centre gets an £11million refurbishment

British Land says it will upgrade the flooring throughout the centre, fit new high-quality seating areas, install bespoke roof light features and introduce a new piece of artwork in the shopping centre, which will be created by a local designer and inspired by Tunbridge Wells’ heritage.

The developer, who bought the site from previous owners Hermes last May, says the work is scheduled to start in autumn this year and is expected to be completed in 2020.

The news has been welcomed by Nicky Blanchard, centre manager at RVP, who said: “We’re so excited to announce the plan for our renovations. We’ve been working hard to produce a design that will help modernise Royal Victoria Place, as well as create a relaxing, feel-good space for our visitors.

“The works represent a significant investment for us, and we can’t wait to see the end result.”

And Councillor Alan McDermott, Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, added: “This is very welcome news from British Land. This is a major investment in the town and the renovation will bring the centre up to date and offer a much improved visitor experience.”

British Land paid more than £90million for the shopping centre last year, but up until now had remained quiet on its plans.

Upon purchase of RVP, the developer immediately shelved Hermes’ £70million redevelopment plan, which included the building of a new cinema, which British Land said was ‘outdated’.

The company has been going through some internal restructuring, which involved selling off some of its retail portfolio including 12 Sainsbury’s superstores to Realty Income Corporation for £429million.

The developer has also recently combined its retail and commercial office arm into one department.

While the development plans are not as ambitious as the plans Hermes had for the shopping centre, British Land says more than 76 jobs are expected to be created by the renovations, and a number of local Tunbridge Wells companies will work with RVP to provide the services required.

When the works are completed in early summer 2020, the centre will also have enhanced visitor facilities within the malls, including refurbished toilets and modernised signage throughout the centre to help improve the experience for shoppers.

Annalise Walker, asset manager at British Land, said: “During the renovation planning process it’s been very important for us to listen to our visitors and we’ve worked closely with the management team to decide how to make improvements that we know will make a difference to our shoppers.

“We’re confident that what we’ve got planned will provide a high-quality shopping experience for visitors and we look forward to getting started very soon.”

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