Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Derelict cinema to be demolished

The old ABC cinema in Tunbridge Wells
The council leader described the site as a "grot spot"

Permission for a new development on the derelict site of a cinema in Kent has been approved by planners.

The former ABC building in the centre of Tunbridge Wells, which closed eight years ago after the opening of an out-of-town Odeon, will now be demolished.

An application for shops, homes, hotels and offices was approved by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, subject to 44 conditions being met.

Councillor Roy Bullock, council leader, said it was excellent news.

He said: "At long last, despite some local concerns, this major 'grot spot' will over the next few years disappear from the horizon and the town centre will be vastly improved by this RIBA competition winning architect's team."

The council should celebrate the first stage of the process as a "truly historic day for Royal Tunbridge Wells", he added.

The cinema has been left empty for several years while development plans were considered.

Several shops on the site opposite the council offices will also be knocked down to make way for the new complex, which will also include parking facilities.

The final planning approval is conditional on several clauses including support for public art and museum displays.

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