We noticed the other day that Camberley’s Main Square car park clock was telling the correct time once more. Is it a fluke, or is the council taking a bit more care than it used to?
You may remember that ‘The Works’ used to occupy a shop near the High Street entrance of The Mall. We’re not sure when it closed, but it must have been some years ago.
However, it’s back! In Park Street this time – in the shop that used to be Esprit.
One of our followers e-mailed us some photographs the other day. His e-mail, slightly edited, said:
“The reality of our current Banking area [the High Street] is shameful.
Currently Camberley High Street is tired, tatty and dangerous by Day… Bedlam at Night.
I have already documented/shared my view on Camberley Night-night economy with SHBC.
The pavements pictures are mostly covering the Eastern side [Right Hand-side when going toward A30]
Councillors, Mr. Gove, SHBC and those unfamiliar with our Main Street might find the photos interesting.
The pictures attached are but a sample. They were taken on a dry day. In the wet it is mostly puddles
There are a couple of areas that may expose pedestrians to injury.
I would be delighted to walk the High Street with SHBC.”
The really sad thing is that the Eye took similar photos years ago. We also walked around the town centre ‘formally’ with a member of the borough council, who took photos himself. But things haven’t improved since then.
Most comments we’ve seen about Bill’s Restaurant – a branch of which is coming to Camberley’s Park Street soon – are very favourable. For those that don’t know the restaurants, here’s a ‘borrowed’ menu. (Sorry, if you’re reading it on a small screen, you’ll have to zoom in quite a lot.
We know less about the new deli coming to the High Street – http://www.littlelocaldeli.co.uk. But here’s something that was written recently to allay any concerns about the sale of alcohol:
“Little Local Deli is an independent food business that sells high-quality produce from
Southern England. The business idea behind the delicatessen is to support local farmers and small producers and to solely sell food and drink produced in Southern England. Main products include cheeses, cured meat, olives, chocolate, preserves and homemade cakes,coffee, freshly made sandwiches and salads to take away. License permitting, we’d also like to sell locally-produced wines that are not available from other Camberley shops. Little Local Deli business model is not an off-licence or a drinking establishment and our aim is to provide specialist products sold at low volumes to complement our main business streams of locally produced food. The primary model for the sale of alcohol at the premises is for customers to take home to consume, not for consumption at the premises.
The Delicatessen is small and only around 10-15 people can be seated at any time. The delicatessen is open to the public only during daytime hours between 10:00-18:00. Any sales of alcohol after this time will be only to persons attending private functions such as cheese and wine tastings at the premises. These functions will only take place occasionally and supplement the business strategy, not form a substantial part of it. Any persons attending the private functions will be asked to leave the area quietly and without causing a nuisance.”
As we’ve commented in the last few days, the borough council’s Chief Executive spoke on local radio recently. She said that she’d like Camberley to be like Chichester.
Here’s the first easy step that she could take. (And you know what’s coming…)
The Chief Exec could get the council’s clock on Main Square car park to tell the right time. Chichester’s clocks were spot on the other day – even the ones that are solar-powered!
(Anyone who mentions ‘the equation of time’, or GMT, risks being banned as a pedant…. We’re the only pedant allowed here.)
The borough council is asking the views of people in Park Street about the town centre – in particular, about the ‘public realm’. Here’s the stall that’s been set up for the purpose.
As we understand it, the ‘high level’ town centre area action plan passed its final hurdle earlier this week, so the broad future of the town up to 2028 has been settled. But it’s recognised that the high level overview has to be translated into specific goals. Hence, the aim of finding out the thoughts and opinions of local people.
What to say about it? Apart from the fact that very few passers- by will have known what an SPD is! (Of course, all readers of this blog know that it’s a Supplementary Planning Document, so there’s no need of an explanation here)…
Firstly, full marks for effort. The council’s apparent unwillingness to communicate has been remarked upon in various places and various times, so it’s good to see the council literally taking to the streets and talking.
What about performance? Well, we spent a while at the stall grinding our usual axe about the need for radical improvements in the lot of pedestrians in the High Street. And we pointed out that this was a specific aim in the Local Plan 2000. But that, since 2000, nothing discernible seems to have happened. So the council’s track record is pretty poor.
Our perception is that the council is faced with conflicting wishes. Some shoppers and retailers don’t want change; others want a traffic-free (or minimal traffic) environment in the High Street. So the council has just got to grasp the nettle one way or the other. (And our survey of a few years ago – cited earlier in this blog – shows that those wanting to minimise traffic are in a sizeable majority.)
As it happens, the council’s Chief Executive on local radio the other day said that she would like Camberley to be like Chichester. Well, central Chichester has a number of ‘minimal traffic’ roads. Retailers’ concerns about deliveries are met by allowing vehicles to deliver to ‘problem’ premises. Disabled people’s concerns are met by allowing blue badge holders to enter. It can’t suit everyone – but that’s life.
Here’s a slightly overgrown road sign in central Chichester – why, can’t we have similar ones here? They can even only apply at peak times, which is when pedestrianisation really matters.
Followers of this blog with exceptional stamina will know how long we’ve been going on about the council’s clock outside Main Square car park in Camberley. After being an hour or so slow for around a couple of years, it was recently set to the right time. Rejoicing followed, across the borough!
Work on the car park lifts a few days ago appears to have caused/needed the power to be cut off. AND – presumably as a result – the clock is now slow again. Bear with us for another couple of years while we try to persuade the council to put it right (or do we just have to wait until Summer Time gives way to GMT in a mere few months?)
The way things are going, Camberley’s going to run out of empty shop units before long! The former Esprit premises in the Atrium are being fitted out – presumably for the next tenant.