Saturday quiz – the answer (bah, humbug…)

Earlier today we asked where we were standing when we took this photo:


The answer is that we were in Princess Way, OUTSIDE the multi-storey car park.


We also asked WHY the signs were there.  Our best guess is that they are the signs that were used to re-direct drivers within the car park when the helter-skelter exit was closed recently, and they’ve simply been hung on the wire mesh in case they’re needed again.

A Saturday quiz…

The Eye’s in a festive mode (bah, humbug…)  So here’s an attempt at a two-question quiz.  Where in the town centre was the Eye standing when they photographed this sign?  And the supplementary question – why was the sign there?  (We know the answer to the first, of course – it’s a bit surprising, which is why we took the photo.  But we’re not so sure about the second.)  All will be revealed – technology-permitting – mid-afternoon today.


Kokoro – only for those who don’t know already!

A few days ago the new sign appeared above Kokoro’s in Camberley’s Mall.  Some people have commented on it, but we’ve not seen a photo of it before.


Something that’s puzzled us time and time again is the fact that most retailers don’t put their name above new premises until they’re just about to open.  We’d have thought that early and on-going publicity and interest would be a good thing – but apparently not.  (Anyway, though the Kokoro sign was illuminated a couple of days ago, it wasn’t when we walked past yesterday.)


‘Just4Kids’ – the news scoop that wasn’t!

We wandered past the front of the former ‘London Golf Store’ on the A30 yesterday.  And there were signs of activity within.  So we took a couple of photos, one of which was a long-range photo through the shop window (the shop goes a long way back).

P1110387 P1110384

With our usual nosiness/enquiring mind, we then went to the back door and asked who was moving in.  “Just4Kids” we were told – moving from their premises at the top of Camberley’s High Street.  So, a news scoop for the Camberley Eye.

Only, we then discovered that there was a notice on the door of those High Street premises – IMG_8942So half of Camberley probably knew before we did!  Some scoop, that…  But it’s good to know that Just4Kids has found a new home.  (Presumably the approved redevelopment of their old one is going ahead.)

Working Men’s Club – new identity, AND a questionnaire for everyone

‘The Central Bar’ – a new name in Camberley’s town centre.  We gather it’s a move to broaden the appeal of the Working Men’s Club. P1110372bP1110374b

But, it’s quite possible that this change will only be temporary, for the owner of the building is planning to redevelop the site completely….

A public meeting was held earlier this week to describe what the future might hold.  (Do note that, at this stage, only outline plans have been produced.  Details have yet to be developed.)  Of most interest to those visiting the town centre is the likely outline of the new building:

Working Men's club plans

The current concept is a five storey building, with the upper four floors consisting of small – ie not family – flats.  The ground floor might be eg a smaller Working Men’s Club and a retail unit.  As yet, this hasn’t been decided.  No parking will be provided.

Several thoughts occur to us.  i) The new building would be considerably taller than the current one. ii) The development is likely to proceed much faster than the wholesale development of the London Road Block – which is opposite the Working Men’s Club.  There’ll be little opportunity for any integration of architectural styles.  iii) The existing building is of some merit, but, as Ken Clarke, our local historian has just written to the Eye, “The building is a replacement for the original which burnt down in November 1929. It’s still a shame that another part of the old town will disappear, but the building is not what I would call excellent, or worth keeping for its architecture, but it is still regrettable from a historical perspective. Progress is like a marriage, for better for worse.”  iv) people actually living in the town centre can prevent it declining if there’s a drop in demand for traditional shops.

Though no formal planning application has been submitted, this is not an academic matter.  Developers are not OBLIGED to consult the public – indeed, the borough council has said “The Council can only request, not require developers to involve the local community. The Council cannot refuse planning applications because a developer refuses to contact and involve the local community.”  But a constructive prior consultation should benefit local people and developer alike.

The developer has provided a simple questionnaire.  If you have any views on the development, do consider completing  the questionniare and e-mailing it to the developer.  You’ll find it if you click HERE  (If you’re handwriting is as bad as the Eye’s, you’ll want to type your input.  So we’ve provided the questionnaire as a simple, old-version, Word document.)

Some background to Main Square’s car wash

We were going to publish a somewhat humorous item about the new-ish car wash in Camberley’s Main Square car park.  The borough council’s description of it as ‘exciting’ seems somewhat over-the-top for a car wash, no matter how useful the facility is, but we’ve never commented about it before.

Car wash

But, we read the text carefully for the first time the other day, and spotted the name of the car wash director – Jonny Rees-Davies.  Bells started to ring.  Surely he has connections with Camberley going back years?

Here’s an extract from ‘Heathscene’, Summer 2008.

Rees Davies

It’s either an unlikely coincidence, or it’s a case of ‘Welcome back to the town centre, Jonny!’


(If you do some simple on-line digging, you’ll find that the Urban Car Spa was advertised on an ‘investment opportunity’ website, though it’s now fully-subscribed.  The business is described thus:

“….. recently introduced us to a couple of his ex-military colleagues who are combining the skills and reputation of the armed forces with the high-margin car valeting industry.

By tapping into a pool of tens of thousands of ex-service personnel and reintegrating those into “civvy” street, Urban Car Spa (UCS) will introduce credibility into a sector, to create a business which the management team believes can be quickly scaled to realise significant profits for early investors.

The ability to work with charities such as the Army Benevolent Fund (The Soldier’s Charity), SSAFA, The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and Walking with the Wounded to name a few, and identify suitable candidates for employment is an attractive and strong USP.

Established by Jonny Rees-Davies and James Pettitt, who both served in the army for ten years, UCS will utilise the skills they gained both in the army and subsequently in the commercial world. UCS will leverage the goodwill of its contacts and the industry-specific knowledge Jonny has built up in the retail property industry to quickly gain market penetration.

Jonny and James believe the current car valeting industry is poorly run, with sites set up with little regard for the environment, employing illegal immigrants, with next to no customer service and inconsistent levels of service.

Despite this, it is still an extremely profitable business”)


Only because it’s Christmas – reach into your pockets…

The Eye tends not to mention good causes.  There are just too many of them for us to cope (let-alone to separate the good causes from the not-so-good causes).  However, it’s Christmas, so here’s an exception that we’ve just received:

“Camberley Ex Round Table and 41 Club are out and about in the Camberley area with Santa and his Christmas float. We are trying to raise money for four local Camberley Charities. They are: Parity for Disability, Camberley Care, Surrey Young Carers and 4th Camberley Scout Group. Bring your children to one of the supermarkets we are visiting to hear the christmas music and to tell Santa what they have on their Christmas Wish List. Alternatively let them stay up a little later one evening and catch us touring your street between 6pm and 8pm. See our programme below.           Round table

Tues 16th – Streets between Portsmouth Road and Chobham Road
Wed 17th – Streets in and around Heatherside
Thur 18th – Sainsbury’s Watchmoor Park all day
Frid  19th – Longacres all day
Sat   20th – Longacres all day
Mon  22nd – Streets of Frimley starting at Burleigh Road
Tues 23rd – The Meadows all day”