A developer is planning to transform an Orpington shopping mall, building 1000 flats across two tower blocks in the town centre.

The Walnuts Shopping Centre, on High St, would be partly demolished, with the residential units spread across 19-storey and 24-storey buildings.

The developer describes the project as “a once in a generation opportunity to create a beautiful, vibrant and sustainable town centre destination for Orpington and its communities.”

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Areli Real Estate is leading the project on behalf of global investment company Tikehau Capital, which acquired the shopping centre in 2019 for more than £30m.

A local consultation was opened in December last year, having been delayed due to Covid-19.

Areli wrote to 11,000 households in the summer inviting comments.

Part of the existing buildings would be retained, according to the developer’s application for an environmental assessment, and the existing multi-storey car park would be extended.

Two smaller buildings, in addition to the tower blocks, would also be built - one two-storey and one nine-storey.

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The total mixed-use development would create 100,000sqm of floorspace across the residential units, state of the art leisure, office floor space and car parking, together with “new and enhanced public realm, access and connectivity across the site.”

The developer has stressed the project’s potential to create a “vibrant and sustainable” town centre, creating strong links to the High St and drawing in new crowds.

The plans remain at a relatively early stage, with the developer only having submitted an application for an environmental assessment in January.

Known as an application for a ‘scoping opinion’, this is a request for the local council to provide its opinion on what information needs to be included to satisfy environmental concerns prior to the planning application.