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Top high street names flock to Bromley scheme

Tue 20 September 2011, 1:35 pm

A host of top brand names are already lined up to play a key role in Bromley’s planned town centre regeneration.

Wagamama, Pizza Express, Browns, Byron Hamburgers, Nandos are already on board for a new restaurant sector as well as hotel chain Premier Inns, and major cinema player, Vue , who are signed up for a nine-screen multiplex which will form the heart of the new Bromley South Central development, attracting an estimated 750,000 people every year.

Steve Knibbs, chief operating officer at Vue Cinema, which operates 69 multiplexes across the country, told delegates that the new nine-screen multiplex on Westmoreland Road would include 20m wide screens the size of four double-decker buses.

"With digital cinema things are changing every week," he said, describing live feeds from Pearl Jam concerts and performances of Les Miserables. "We're very excited to bring a really high quality experience to Bromley.

"I've worked in cinema for 23 years and half that time we've been trying to build in this area of London. Because Bromley has waited so long you're going to benefit from what we've built elsewhere."

The news came from Martin Wood, managing director of the Cathedral Group, who presented his group’s plans for the Bromley South Central site and explained to a packed audience why he thought Bromley is as good place to invest.

“We did our homework and worked out that Bromley is a fantastic development opportunity, “ he said. “It is the largest London Borough with more than 1.3m people living within 13 minutes drive of the town centre, including a 300,000 ore local populace of which 66% are ABC1s.

"But despite its affluent demographics, it doesn’t have any high end chain family restaurants or large scale multiplex cinema. We saw that as an opportunity to provide a good quality array of attractions in Bromley Town Centre with existing captive audience.

“In addition Bromley South is 16 minutes by train to London Victoria but has no quality branded business hotel and we saw that as a considerable opportunity to attract a new business hotel to satisfy this demand.

“The statistics are such that when come together, they are music to our ears because they tell a story of a place ripe for opportunity.”

Mr Wood outlined the Cathedral Group’s vision for the Bromley South Central Site, which he said would be focused around a new public square which has the current working title of St Mark’s Square. This square, which includes a public performance area which could double as an ice skating rink in the winter and a city beach in the summer, would form the hub of the new development,  providing access to the high end family restaurants and the 9-screen multiplex. Also included in the development is a 130-bedroom hotel and 200 1-3 bed apartments, as well as a 400-space car park.

In response to questions, Mr Wood said that the planning application was due to be submitted in October and he hoped the cinema and hotel would open in 2014.

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