Controversial plans to redevelop an Orpington shopping centre are being shared with the public again following feedback from a consultation.

Developer Areli Real Estate is proposing to partly demolish the Walnuts Shopping Centre, on High St, building two residential towers in the centre of Orpington.

After concerns were raised about plans for one 25-storey building, its height has been reduced to 19 storeys, the same as the other tower. The development will hold around 900 flats. 

Areli claims the majority of the 1,200 participants in June’s consultation indicated support for the £500m project, and that there was “overwhelming support for development in the town centre as a means to help protect Bromley’s green belt.”

News Shopper: Indicative view of the entrance to The Walnuts (Areli Real Estate)Indicative view of the entrance to The Walnuts (Areli Real Estate)

Rob Tincknell, Areli partner, said: “We have engaged extensively with the local community over the past 18 months and have listened carefully to a wide range of viewpoints ahead of making changes to our proposals.

“We know how under siege our High Streets are and how challenging it is for young people to find a home locally.

"Our plans focus on major investment into Orpington to help support the existing community as well as create a more sustainable model for retail into the future.”

A petition launched in June accused the developer of failing to consider the opinions of nearby residents, who object to the “sheer size and scale” of the proposals.

Signatories pledged to boycott the shopping centre unless the plans were scaled back significantly.

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.

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.

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

Areli claims the development will bring 535 jobs and an estimated spend from new residents of between £12-13m per annum.

The latest information is available online Areli are meeting community groups throughout November to discuss their plans.

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