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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Cinema site sold to mystery buyer
The old ABC cinema in Tunbridge Wells
The old ABC cinema has been closed for four years
The site of a former cinema in Kent has been sold to a mystery developer after planning permission was granted for affordable homes and shops.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council at first turned down permission for the 20m development because it wanted a new cinema included on the ABC site.

But a planning inspector ruled last December it could go ahead.

Local firm GLN Copenhagen sold on the Mount Pleasant Road site on 19 July but has not disclosed the buyer's name.

The property company said work on redeveloping the site, which has permission for 12 homes, could start as soon as next spring.

The ABC closed five years ago after the opening of the out-of-town Odeon at Knight's Park.

Shopowners' uncertainty

A cinema has now been ruled out for Mount Pleasant Road.

Tunbridge Wells council leader Melvyn Howell said the new owners had two options.

"They can either run with the existing permission, and I think that probably makes a lot of sense from a development point of view," he said.

"Or they could, it they wish, produce an entirely fresh application."

Tenants of the existing shops said they were anxious to hear from the new owners.

"It leaves us with so much doubt and uncertainty because one doesn't know where we are going in the next six months," said Mervyn Valentine of Heffle Electrical.

"It isn't until we get contractual notice from them that we can actually start putting things in hand," he said.


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