Tunbridge Wells council 'indecisive' over cinema site

Former cinema site in Tunbridge Wells The site of the former ABC cinema has stood derelict for nearly 13 years

Related Stories

The "number one grot spot" in a Kent town has been blamed on the council's "lack of ambition and vision".

The former ABC cinema in the centre of Tunbridge Wells has been derelict for nearly 13 years pending a number of demolition and redevelopment plans.

Opposition Liberal Democrats on the borough council said: "There is no reason for the site looking the way it does except for an indecisive council".

The council said it wanted to ensure the owners met their obligations.

"We will not stop until the owners come up with a solution to demolish the site and present a planning application for a suitable replacement," said council leader David Jukes.

Broken windows

In a survey of local residents conducted by the Liberal Democrats, 92% said they thought the Conservative-led council should already have put a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the site to get a redevelopment under way.

Councillor Ben Chapelard said: "This is the biggest opinion poll on the town's number one grot spot and residents are clear.

"The root cause of the current situation is the council's lack of ambition and vision for this key strategic site."

Dianne Hill, leader of the Labour group, said: "If we were to let our houses deteriorate like this, the council would soon be knocking on our doors."

In a statement, the council leader said a CPO on the site would be extremely costly.

"The cost to our tax payers would be in the region of £10m - £15m before the future re-use of the site is taken into consideration which will be in the region of £40m - £50m.

"This could see a council tax increase of over £1,000 per household across the borough, per annum," Mr Jukes said.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Kent



Min. Night 6 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.