Added on: 7th September, 2020 by O1
"In January 2020 we began discussions with the local Orpington community on the possibilities for the future of the Walnuts Shopping Centre.
We feel The Walnuts represents an exciting opportunity to provide an improved range of facilities and much needed new homes, bringing both high-quality design and more vitality to Orpington town centre.
Following the postponement of the Walnuts Community Planning Weekend in March we have now restarted the community engagement process. In June we issued an update newsletter and invited residents and businesses to tell us their problems, dreams and solutions for the shopping centre and the wider town centre. Our team also hosted two online stakeholder focus groups where we also asked attendees to tell us their problems, dreams and solutions for the town.
Following your engagement, we have assessed and summarised community and stakeholder responses into the following key themes.
• Improved retail, food & beverage offer: Attract a range of independent and specialist shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and markets for a thriving day and evening economy.
• Identity + design: Be architecturally inspiring and create a new heart for the town centre to create a unique, aspirational identity that entices locals and tourists to visit.
• Getting about: Improve the pedestrian and cycling experience whilst balancing the need for vehicular access and car parking.
• Public space + greenspace: Provide accessible, beautiful streets and public spaces that are well managed, vibrant, and welcoming.
• Community facilities: Orpington town centre should be a cultural and leisure ‘experience’ destination and community hub for all ages.
• Housing: New town centre mixed tenure homes should cater for different needs and incomes and help support the retail, leisure, and cultural offer.
• Community and stakeholder engagement: A joined-up collaboration between developers, local authority, BID and local stakeholders is key to ensuring the successful regeneration of the town centre which brings benefits for the whole town.
We hope that later in the year we will be able to hold the re-programmed Walnuts Shopping Centre Community Planning event to create a ‘Vision’ for the shopping centre and its relationship with the wider town. We will provide a further update on this event in the autumn.
Following the creation of the new ‘Vision’, our plan will be to continue liaising with Orpington stakeholders as we draw up the regeneration proposals, with the aim of submitting a planning application in 2021."
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