The transformation of the Walnuts reached a new high this weekend with the official opening of the new 7 Screen cinema.
The combined effect of the new cinema, restaurants and the earlier opening of B&M and the massively popular PureGym made February a record-breaking month.
The car park, a barometer on just how busy it was in the Walnuts, was over 70% up on February last year.
Commenting on the openings, Shaun Hose of shopping centre owners Rockspring said: “Rockspring Property Investment Management is thrilled to be a part of this transformation. Orpington residents and businesses have been waiting a long time for a cinema to re-open in the town and we’re delighted Odeon and new restaurants have shown such commitment to this project. The Walnuts Shopping Centre continues to be at the heart of Orpington and with new places to eat and shop we should all see the benefits of our investment.
ODEON – Europe’s largest cinema group – now offers its newest cinema, which boasts 959 seats and features a state-of-the-art ISENSE screen. It’s only the second one in the UK and features luxury seating throughout and cutting-edge Dolby ATMOS sound, designed to deliver a truly immersive, ultra-high-definition cinema experience.
The cinema also offers an in-screen dining concept with freshly baked pizza, from its Croma Pizza Point counter, as part of a range of fantastic food and drink options for cinema-goers.
The ODEON opening follows on from the opening of two new great restaurants adjacent to the cinema.
BELLA ITALIA has brought its authentic Italian dining experience with rustic Italian food and key ingredients sourced from Italy to Orpington. The seven-day a week service starting at breakfast and running into dinner in the evening is already providing a lively venue for family get-togethers, catching up with friends, business lunches, dates and pre or post-cinema bites to eat.
DEAN’S DINER has also kicked off with its fantastic “50’s” themed American Diner. Fun, friendly and home to the very best breakfasts, burgers, hotdogs, salads, tortilla wraps and absolutely the best Shakes all served up with the best tunes! The bottom-less coffee and finest ingredients including the exclusively produced beef for Dean’s, 100% naturally reared, premium Scottish Beef from the Cairngorm Highlands.
Martin Price, Centre Manager of The Walnuts said: ”We are all really excited having worked through the development phase to now welcome ODEON, the UK’s leading cinema brand. The restaurants have already been a fantastic success on top of the new B&M store and Pure Gym. It’s making a huge difference but we’re still letting new space and more good news is about to come as we look forward past these to the hotel and more outlets opening this summer. ”
For more information, visit www.thewalnutsshoppingcentre.com
Gerwyn James, Director, Halogen
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3 July 2015 - Latest photos of the Odeon and Premier Inn developments
Building likely to be completed within 10 months.
Due to be handed over for interior fit out in June. Target date for opening with the launch of the new Bond movie in the autumn.
Application No.14/03316/FULL1 - target determination date was 9 December but it did not go to the Development Control Committee on 25 November. The next one is on 10 February, so watch for both this application and the one below, as they will probably appear on this agenda.
(See more details about the proposed development dated 9 October 2014)
Planning application for Premier Inn submitted to Bromley Council
Application No.14/04452/FULL1 for this development was validated on 2 December 2014, with a target determination date of 27 January 2015. This is a major development and it is likely to be considered at the next Development Control Committee on Tuesday 10 February.
If permission is granted the hotel is scheduled to be completed in 10 months.
Premier Inn Proposals
- 61 bedroom hotel, including family and accessible rooms
- 25 new jobs
- New cladding to all elevations
- Replacement of all windows
- Removal of existing canopy in order to improve openness of the street and visibility of ground floor shop units
- Energy efficient improvements to the existing building
- Submission of planning application - subject to approval early 2015
- Start of construction mid-2015
- Hotel to open summer/autumn 2016
It is interesting to note that the latest 'news' item on the Premier Inn website is 2 September - and no sign of anything about this new hotel. Why are they not trumpeting their latest addition?
Margot Rohan - Orpington Community
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9 October 2014
Former Police Station site
Berkeley homes have revealed that, subject to planning permission (application submitted 22 August), work on developing the old Police Station site into apartments will being early 2015. See the News Shopper article.
Left and below are artist's impressions of what the development will look like - a mixture of apartments, a cafe and a wellness centre.
Proposed Redevelopment of the Former Orpington Police Station, Orpington
Following the public consultation in July 2014 where Berkeley Homes presented their initial proposals and invited comments, they have now submitted their planning application to the council for the redevelopment of the site.
Members of Berkeley Homes and the project team would like to invite local residents to a public exhibition, where details of the submitted scheme will be presented and any questions arising will be answered.
The exhibition will be held at the Orpington Village Hall, 311 High Street, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0NN on the following dates and times:
Friday 12th September 2014 between 4pm and 8pm
Saturday 13th September 2014 between 10am and 1pm
If you are unable to attend, please visit the exhibition website at www.formerorpingtonpolicestation.co.uk which will be updated with the exhibition material on Friday 12th September 2014 from midday.
Council Committee agenda leaves public wondering about Chislehurst Library (see end of article)
Report to be presented at Bromley Council meeting - (Agenda link) Renewal and Recreation PDS Committee - on Tuesday 2 September at 7pm, gives an update on the Town Centres Development Programme, including some interesting information regarding Orpington:
"Orpington Town Centre
3.5 Planning Sub–Committee on 5 June 2014 approved a revised scheme by Miller Development for Walnut Shopping Centre for a part 4/
part 5 storey building. The revised scheme is under construction and will provide 7 screen cinema (950 seats); 3 retail units; 3
restaurants/café units; a gym; and creation of a new square with associated landscaping. The build is schedule to be completed in
Spring 2015. It is understood that B&M, one of the leading variety retailers in the UK, has secured space in the development in line
with its strategy to grow its store base in southern England. Pure Gym, the national gym chain, will be making a substantial investment
in the scheme, creating a new 24 hour gym. No details on the proposed restaurants are available. Also under construction is the
Orpington College hospitality facility. Berkeley Homes are also preparing to submit a planning application for a new Wellness Centre
and a residential scheme on the Old Police Station site
3.6 The Council are keen to maximise the opportunity offered by these new developments to implement a comprehensive public realm
improvements to the Walnut Centre. Designers have been commissioned to develop a RIBA Stage A concept plan for the public areas
of Walnut Centre. They have been tasked to working with Key Stakeholders:
- Millers Developments: the developers of the new Cinema complex
- Bromley Further Education College
- Berkeley Homes, new owners of the former police station site
- Walnut Market Operator
- LB Bromley Library Services
- My Time Active
- Orpington First – BID Management Company
3.7 It is proposed that a workshop with key stakeholders will take place in September with the final concept plan being available in October
3.8 A report detailing options for the future of the Priory site was considered at the 22 July Executive Committee meeting. At this meeting
the Executive decided to withdraw the Priory Revisited Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application, ahead of the HLF decision meeting in
September. At a time of huge financial pressures Members decided that they could not commit to the revenue requirements of
entering into a 25 year contract with the HLF. Officers are now meeting with groups from the local community to reassess the future of
the site. The first meeting is scheduled for the 21 August with the Orpington BID."
Also on the agenda is Item 11 - Chislehurst Library - but, unfortunately, there is no public report - only an exempt report (under Section 12A of the Local Government Act 1972). As a matter of interest, Croydon Council always issues a Part A (public) report version of any exempt (Part B) report, with the confidential information removed but a summary of the purpose of the report. By not doing this, Bromley Council is surely not adhering to the 'transparency' agenda. So, the public are left wondering what the Council is proposing regarding Chislehurst Library.....
Margot Rohan, Orpington Community
Here are the latest photos of the Miller cinema development and news of the new Orpington Campus Hospitality College...and Restaurant.
Click on images below to enlarge
More developments afoot! Berkeley Homes has purchased the former Orpington Police Station site. There will be a public consultation at Crofton Halls on 4 and 5 July. Local residents will have the opportunity to view the proposals for a 'high quality residential-led mixed use' development.
The consultation website will be 'live' from 12pm from 4 July, so anyone can submit comments about the proposals up until 16 July.
For further photos of The Walnuts go to an earlier blog here.
At Plans Sub Committee No.1 on 5 June, the Committee voted to grant permission for the building of the cinema complex, 3 retail units, a gym, 3 restaurant/cafés and a 7-screen cinema on the Crown Buildings site.
27 May 2014
The Walnuts redevelopment is on the move......................The planning application, covering the development of the cinema complex on the old Crown Buildings site, will be considered at Plans Sub 1 on 5 June at Bromley Civic Centre. All documents relating to this application can be found on the Council's website (enter the application no. 14/01056/FULL1). The officer's report can be downloaded here.
The agenda for the meeting can be viewed here.
The plans can be downloaded as pdfs to see more detail: Elevations and revised elevation
Wonders will never cease. A quick tweet on 11 May produced a response from Miller Homes Ltd, a sister company, who promised to pass on the message! Lo and behold, not one but two responses to my email were received on 12 May. The first, from Phil Miller, acknowledged my email and said that David Milloy, joint Managing Director, would respond. This was almost immediately followed by Mr Milloy's response:
"Rest assured Miller are still very much committed to the redevelopment of the Walnuts shopping centre.As I am sure you will appreciate we require to secure various consents and approvals, not all of which are in our control.We hope to secure from Bromley Council a revised planning consent at the beginning of June which will pave the way for a start on site.In anticipation of this we are pressing on with finalising the terms of the Building Contract with our chosen contractor.Funding is in place and we have also secured additional lettings to complement Odeon."
Further confirmation was given at the Orpington Business Forum AGM on 13 May. So, very positive news all round.
Margot Rohan - Orpington Community
A year on and where are we? The developer's website now states 'The development is scheduled to commence Spring 2014' (the previous completion target) but surely spring has arrived? We are told that the development - including the cinema complex - is definitely going ahead but when, as there are no apparent signs of work commencing??
Now Intu, Bromley (formerly 'The Glades') has 'Big Plans'. Hopefully these will not eclipse Orpington's regeneration.
Work has begun in the Walnuts, with the demolition of Crown House in the centre. The area has boarding all around, so it is not possible to see what is happening behind it but it is a start to the development. No further information is yet available on Miller's website.
22 February 2013
According to Miller Developments' brochure, the timescale for the Walnuts development is as follows:
- The start of construction - early 2013
- Retail units open - winter 2013
- Cinema & restaurants open - spring 2014
See their brochure by clicking here.
13 January 2013
Works were expected to begin before the end of 2012. An update has been requested from Miller Developments - watch this space! Their website page for this development is:
27 September 2012
Press release from Miller Developments:
Orpington Town Centre Plans are a ‘Box Office Hit’
Planning Permission has been granted for the redevelopment of Crown Buildings, the former Job Centre located adjacent to The
Walnuts Shopping Centre, Orpington, Kent. Both properties were purchased by Garden Property CH Limited, (GPCHL) in Autumn 2011.
Expected to start on site before the end of the year, the development will include a seven-screen cinema of 950 seat capacity, four large retail units, three restaurant units and a new public square. The development will regenerate the town centre, improve the public realm, complement The Walnuts retail offer and associated car parking, creating much needed contemporary accommodation to suit modern retailer requirements.
Mark Hewett of Miller Developments, said: “We are delighted the exciting plans for Orpington town centre have been given the go-ahead by
Bromley Council. We have been conscious to listen to residents’ feedback on the proposals and the public consultation in May proved to be successful, highlighting that our plans for the town were welcomed.
“The new cinema will be the first in Orpington for 30 years and we are pleased to be delivering it. We are confident the new development (which should create in excess of 130 long-term jobs) will benefit the town both socially and economically. We have been encouraged by the
depth of occupational interest registered in advance of consent being granted and hope to be able to announce some key lettings in the next few months.”
Mike Wimble of Ellandi, said: “As asset managers of the existing Walnuts Shopping Centre we are delighted that consent has been given to this exciting new development. The provision of a new cinema together with shops and restaurants is the cornerstone of Ellandi and Miller’s strategy to re-invigorate the town centre and this development is the catalyst needed to achieve those goals.”
The development is scheduled for completion by end-2013. Kitchen La Frenais Morgan and Prime Retail are retained as letting agents on behalf of Garden Property..
(Garden Property CH Limited is a joint venture, comprising Miller Developments, Ellandi and Metropolitan Estates, a Middle Eastern investment Fund advised by Europe Realty Management.)
20 September 2012 - Planning application approved at Development Control Committee - officer's report - recommendation to grant permission with conditions.
3-24 September - Consultation period - application - 12/02027/FULL1.
More information on Miller Developments' website
12 June 2012 (Orpington Business Forum meeting)
Mark Hewett of Miller Developments* showed the artist's impression of the proposed development, Crown Buildings. The Job Centre and surrounding area will be levelled ready for the first phase of building - retail outlets - before the end of the year. A cinema development with restaurants is planned for completion during 2013. It is also proposed that the market area will be enhanced when it moves to College Square. The press release prior to the public exhibition on 31 May/1 June provides more information here.
* Established over 40 years ago, Miller Developments, a division of the Miller Group, is one of the UK’s leading and most admired property
development companies. Miller Developments is responsible for large scale property development programmes throughout mainland Europe and