- 2 updates
A grotspot, an eyesore and a blot on the landscape of a pretty town -just some of the phrases used to describe a building in Tunbridge Wells which has stood derelict for 13 years.
So the news that the site - which used be the town's cinema - is to be demolished has been welcomed by locals. But the battle to bring the building down may not yet be over. Nashreen Issa talks to Liberal Democrat Councillor Ben Chapelard and residents in Tunbridge Wells.
A former cinema in Tunbridge Wells which has stood derelict for 13 years is to be demolished. The owners of the site on the corner of Mount Pleasant and Church Road say work will start next year.
But Liberal Democrat Councillor Ben Chapelard, speaking in this clip, says the move has been too long in coming. His party have been campaigning in the town.
Conservative-run Tunbridge Wells Council say they welcome the decision to demolish the building from its owners, the Carlyle Group.
The leader of the council, David Jukes, said: 'In the last two years the council has made every effort to assist the owners to progress their ambition for the site.
'We have also made repeated requests for them to start its demolition immediately. Despite some success in getting them to refresh the hoardings and remove the asbestos up until now they have resolutely refused to demolish the derelict structure.
‘The owners have now written informing us that their directors have approved a decision to demolish the buildings after the council issued them with a section 16 demand through our solicitors.
‘However we have had similar promises before and, after the latest discussions with a major food retailer fell through last month, the council embarked on a course of legal action which could bring punitive measures on the owners if not complied with.
Therefore despite the assurance that demolition is intended, I do not propose to stop the legal action until I see the buildings being knocked down.’
The local Conservative group has also distributed a leaflet to households in the town about the cinema site and included a link to a petition calling on the owners to take action.
The Carlye Group says: 'We are now working towards demolition of the cinema which was vacant and derelict for over ten years before we bought the site in 2011.
'We know this has been a long process and understandably people in Tunbridge Wells have felt frustrated by the apparent lack of progress. There are still some practical issues to be sorted but we are confident these can be resolved in time for work to begin in the spring.'