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Frequently asked questions

What is an integrated retirement community?

Integrated retirement communities are designed to uphold flexibility, independence and wellbeing for people aged over 65. With a range of excellent facilities onsite and help and support on hand if and when needed, residents can enjoy peace of mind about the future. The facilities provided within the community are open and integrated with the wider community, allowing the wider community to make use of them as well.

At a retirement community, you have the option to buy or rent, with part buy part rent and rent to buy options for added flexibility. Plus, family and friends are free to stay, in the community’s guest suites, as and when they like.

When is it happening?


  • Public consultation: Spring 2022
  • Planning application submission: August 2022
  • Planning committee and decision: January 2023
  • Start of onsite: Early 2024
What happened to the old scheme?

Since the closure of the ABC Cinema in 1999 and its demolition in 2014 a number of consents have been granted for the redevelopment of the site. Unfortunately, none of these have come to fruition.

In development terms the ABC cinema site is not ‘straightforward’ for a number of reasons, including the late-19th Century tunnel cutting diagonally beneath the western side of the site. This has affected viability alongside the impact of COVID, which has not helped. Retirement Villages Group (RVG) is also of the opinion that the previous scheme contained too much commercial risk, in that it was not certain there would be demand from a cinema operator.

What kind of homes will you be building?

The scheme will provide approximately 160 new homes. The majority (around two thirds) will be 2-bedroom apartments. The remainder will be 1-bed apartments.

All apartments will benefit from private outdoor space in the form of balconies and terraces.

In addition, residents will benefit from a publicly-accessible courtyard at the heart of the scheme.

Will the homes be for sale and rent?

There will be homes both for rent and for sale.

Who can live here?

People aged 65 and over (including couples where one person is younger than 65) will be welcome to make the community their home. An integrated retirement community is not a care home, and will be attractive to people who want to live independently but with the ease of life and reassurance that comes from having amenities and services close at hand including care and support when needed.

People choose us as their home at a variety of ages for a range of reasons, but having done so really enjoy being able to continue to live life as they choose whilst enjoying all the village offers and many say they wish they’d moved sooner. Whether they want to stay active within the community, continue paid or voluntary work, spend more time with their families, put their feet-up or all of the above, we’ll be there to help make it easy and enjoyable.

How tall will the development be?

The highest point in the proposed scheme is 25.5m, 7 storeys. It will be no higher than and will broadly follow the same quantum of development as the previously consented scheme. Like previous schemes, it will exceed the height of the original ABC Cinema.

The previous scheme included a new cinema, how will this one help the town centre?

Previous schemes have failed for a number of reasons, including the site’s topography and changes in habits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This site has been dormant for over 20 years and our proposal provides a deliverable vision. Our plans include:

New homes

  • Around 160 retirement living homes, comprising a mix of 1- and 2-bed apartments in a range of sizes

Reactivating Mount Pleasant Road and Church Road

  • Commercial units targeting independent, local businesses, rather than larger national chains - the number of units may vary according to the size required by prospective operators

Wellness and health

  • Some of the amenities that support wellbeing and health could be open to the local community and could include a hydrotherapy pool, spa, physiotherapy facilities or a gym, open to the public on a membership basis.

Onsite facilities

  • A café/bistro and a range of spaces and facilities that will be available for public-use, either through a membership, by invitation or open-access.

New public space

  • A realigned public right of way running through to a new central courtyard, providing a space for residents and the wider community to come together around a shared environment that the development will open onto.


  • 61 basement car parking spaces (including electric vehicle charging) onsite.
  • Cycle parking spaces for both residents and the commercial floorspace
  • A focus on increasing access to alternative transport modes, such as providing accessibility to a car club.

By reactivating this site and building new homes, we will be creating a new community within the town centre that will support local retailers, restaurants and businesses.

In addition, we anticipate the vast majority of our residents will be older people who currently live in Royal Tunbridge Wells and who will sell their current homes when moving into the scheme. Our research shows that every new resident joining our communities creates a chain reaction within the local property market. The latest research we have conducted indicates that our proposed development in Royal Tunbridge Wells could facilitate the release of around 53 homes within five miles of the site.

How many parking spaces will be provided and how will parking be managed?

We are providing 61 basement car parking spaces (including EV charging) onsite, which represents fewer than a space per home. Our experience is that, whilst some of our residents may arrive with a car, many of them do not, and those that bring a car with them do not use them very often and opt to sell it soon after.

The site, situated so close to the train station and a number of bus stops, is also inherently suited to car-free living. We therefore want to focus on increasing access to alternative transport modes, such as providing accessibility to a car club, so that fewer residents feel the need to bring a car with them in the first place, delivering a more sustainable approach to the independence a car provides.

Bicycle parking spaces for both residents and the commercial floorspace will also be provided, including facilities for electric cycle charging.

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