Costa out, sushi in….

A little while ago we speculated that there were stirrings in the premises that Costa Coffee used to occupy in Camberley’s Mall.

We’ve now been told that the new tenant will be Kokoro.  Knowing nothing about Kokoro, the best we can do is to cite some of the restaurant’s website:

Kokoro literally means “heart”, “soul” and “spirit”. At Kokoro, we put our“Heart”, “Soul” and “Spirit” into the food made for you.
It all began in June 2010 when our first restaurant opened in Kingston, Surrey.  The second branch opened in Guildford in August 2011, The third branch opened in Brighton in October 2012, And the fourth branch was opened in Wimbledon in August 2013!
We’ve grown from a small Japanese takeaway restaurant a big success icon of fresh Japanese restaurant chain day by day- by our customers’ encouragement and support.
In Kokoro, the customer comes first.  In every branch, all sushi is always prepared daily using fresh, quality ingredients….
(By the way, the same source has told us that a florist will be opening in Princess Way.  We can only think of two vacant shops in that road – and work is underway to fit out the former Bossy Boots premises, so….)

Ashwood House – is the council dipping into its pocket?

On December 2nd there will be a private council meeting to consider the acquisition of Ashwood House.  Ashwood House is the building on the other side of Pembroke Broadway from the station.  The office accommodation within the building has been empty since Nokia moved out about ten years ago, but the retail accommodation – BHS, CeX, Halfords, the Post Office – is occupied, of course.

P1040607Up until about a year ago, the borough council considered that the most probable destiny of the building was complete redevelopment.  However, the building’s owners then pointed out at the Examination in Public of the town’s Area Action Plan that the building could be converted into residential accommodation.  This was accepted, and the official wording added to the Plan by the national Planning Inspectorate was that the building could provide ca. fifty flats.

Of course, we have no idea why the council is considering buying the building.  However, it does occur to us that, if the current owner submitted a planning application to convert it into flats, it might be difficult for the council to refuse permission, given the wording of the finalised  Area Action Plan.  This might thwart the council’s own plans.  So, maybe the council is trying to pre-empt such an event by acquiring the building itself?  But we’re guessing wildly!

Cala Homes – coming to Portesbery Road?

As nearby residents will know already, Cala Homes proposes to demolish the former police station in Portesbery Road and replace it with 35 homes.

According to Cala Homes, it will be running a public consultation on Saturday 6th December, from 11.00am to 5.00pm at High Cross Church, Camberley.  Cala says that the exhibition will ALLOW the public the opportunity to view the proposed layout.  (We love that word ‘allow’.)

Normally we’d provide more information and a link to the most relevant part of the company’s website.  However, the terms and conditions of Cala’s website don’t permit us to reproduce any of it.  You can read the terms and conditions for yourself here:  (The T&C insist that you read them before the rest of the website so we’re helping our readers to do this!)


Borough council nearly gets it right.

Long-standing readers of the Eye will know our obsession with the council’s clock on the outside of Camberley’s Main Square car park.  (Yes, it is the council’s clock, though they once denied it…)


Anyway, for many months the clock was wrong by an hour – almost certainly as a result of the change from summer to winter time (or was it the other way round – it was a long time ago).  But eventually, after many criticisms here, plus a Freedom of Information request, the council put the clock right.  Until a few weeks ago, that is, when the UK reverted to winter time again.  After which, the clock was, predictably, an hour fast.  And that’s how it remained until recently, when the clock was corrected.  Well, sort-of corrected.  The clock is now five minutes slow!

Still, to be fair, the council has had other car park problems to contend with….

Protesters camp inside proposed shopping centre

We’re used to proposed new supermarkets meeting strong opposition. But our headline refers to a story – in a recent copy of Retail Week – about a new shopping centre in Bradford. Work started on the site in 2004, but the protests were because the work STOPPED in 2008.

Why mention this here? Because construction recently re-started in Bradford. And, though we have no inside information, this presumably is a good omen for the redevelopment of Camberley’s London Road Block (LRB) – the A30 frontage between the High Street and Park Street.

London Road Block

The future of retail seems particularly uncertain at the present time. The major supermarkets have well-publicised problems, M&S isn’t doing particularly well, ‘click and collect’ is a relatively new and thriving concept, internet sales in general are growing…. (The Eye bought something from Amazon at 8:00pm recently.  It arrived at 9:00am the next day.)

As of a few weeks ago, the official word is that a planning application for the LRB is expected in the second half of next year. We guess that this means the second rather than the first quarter. Sadly for those who believe that John Lewis signed up ages ago to occupy the new development, the only information we have is that discussions with an ‘anchor store’ were still progressing last month.

All change at the Doman Road delivery office

Like most local eBay fans, from time to time the Eye has to visit Royal Mail’s Doman Road delivery office to collect parcels.  So, we’ll be watching for changes to be made to the front of the somewhat uninspired building.  A planning application has been submitted covering:

Proposed changes to the fenestration of existing building to include a new doorway to the front elevation, replacement window, cladding of brick columns and replacement of entrance doors.
(It’s a pity that the number of parking spaces isn’t being increased.  Parking there is usually a pain!
Our spies tell us that there are going to be changes inside the building as well.  The cramped storage area where parcels are kept, awaiting collection, is going to be knocked into an adjacent room, making life easier for the Royal Mail staff.

Camberley shopper leaves without shopping

We received this message and photo from one of our followers yesterday.

“Hello Mr Eye,

I had the displeasure of visiting Camberley Main Square car park at 12:30 today and thought you might like a photograph of lots of cars going absolutely nowhere fast. 

I attempted to get a ‘parent and child bay’ however, they were all taken (par for the course at this time on a Saturday), so I decided that I’d rather leave the car park than queue for a long time to get to level 4 with those wider bays. This meant I had to queue up the ramp (pictured) using the right lane (the other is ‘coned off’) and then force my way across near the spiral ramp exit where the lanes converge. 

The whole process took a little over 15 minutes which meant I had to explain it all to the ‘car parking manager’ when the barrier didn’t automatically raise as I tried to exit. 

I ended up going home in a very frustrated state, which was a shame, as it looked like there was a lot of good stuff going on down the High Street.”

Car park from ano