We’ve asked, but were told ‘Sorry, haven’t a clue’.

As fitting-out of the former hairdressers at the top of the High Street seems to be proceeding quite quickly, we thought that it was about time we found out who would be moving in there.  So we asked someone working inside the building.  You’ll see from the title of this item that we came away none the wiser.  (As we’ve commented on before, it seems to be quite common that people working on a building, or surveying an area, don’t know what the end-result will be.)

p1070754b

UPDATE: Chris tells us that the shop is turning into ANOTHER hairdresser’s.

Shoe!

p1070773b p1070774bIt’s been commented on elsewhere, but we’ve not shown a picture of the shoe that has been put above the theatre entrance until now.  It’s there to advertise this year’s panto – Cinderella.  We think it’s rather fun, but we reckon that it’s neither a left nor a right shoe, so it might be somewhat uncomfortable to wear!

Even more town centre flats

We last wrote about the outline planning application to redevelop the Working Men’s Club in Obelisk Way back in May.  But it’s high time that we recorded that the application has been approved.  It’s for:

“…the erection of a four storey building comprising Use Class A1-A5 on the ground floor and 16 residential units (Use Class C) on the three upper floors (with access, layout and scale to be considered and appearance and landscaping being reserved matters) following the demolition of existing buildings.”

P1110374b

AND NEW INFORMATION…

The borough council has just made the following announcement:

“the council has completed the purchase of the freehold of the House of Fraser and NatWest building in Camberley town centre for £17.6m.

“Following last month’s £86m acquisition of the Capital and Regional town centre property portfolio, which included much of The Mall Shopping Centre, this latest purchase is an important part of the Council’s strategy to deliver on its key priority of regenerating Camberley town centre.

“The Council bought the property at 45-51 Park Street, which currently houses NatWest and House of Fraser, from the M & G Property Portfolio, in a deal funded through local government borrowing.

“Cllr Moira Gibson, Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council, said: “This latest purchase is further evidence of the Council’s commitment to invest in Camberley, and gain control of strategically important assets to drive regeneration of the town centre.””

We wonder what part the NatWest building plays in the council’s regeneration plans.  We’ve not seen it – or the House of Fraser – mentioned in this context before.  But we can well imagine that the House of Fraser could quit Camberley, and leave the building ready for conversion into flats.  After all, the top floor of HoF has been unused for years, and the various HoF stores that we know seem to be unloved and gradually getting shabbier.

Not the ice rink

As regular readers will know, the Eye doesn’t show photos of major events in the town.  There are plenty of better photographers, with better cameras, who do that.  So, though we attended the formal opening of the ice rink in the recreation ground yesterday evening, we’re showing something a bit different – though related.  Our photo is of the ‘water-filled barriers’ directing vehicles at the junction of Southwell Park Road and Charles Street.  These have been installed to manage the extra traffic caused by people visiting the ice rink.

p1070748b

The good news is that, according to one local resident, the scheme is working well, rather to their surprise.  We hope that this remains the case on a busy Saturday afternoon, when drivers queue to enter the Atrium car park.  Fingers crossed!

The borough council misses its own deadline. Does it matter?

In 2014, the council wrote in the town centre Area Action Plan:  “Within the short term (Years 2012-2016) …a scheme for environmental improvements to the High Street will be agreed,”

Oh no it won’t.

High Streetb

In fact, it won’t be until the next executive meeting that the council will decide whether or not to convene a working group to “consider  and  make  recommendations  to the  Executive  on  future  improvements  to  the  High  Street in Camberley  Town  Centre  that  promote and  support  the role of  the  High  Street in any future  regeneration  proposals.” The first meeting of the working group wouldn’t be until January.  Deadline well and truly missed.

But it’s worse than that.  When should this working group complete its task?  The Eye doesn’t know.  Neither, apparently, will the executive when it is asked to approve the group. The proposal being put to the meeting doesn’t say.  Perhaps it doesn’t matter – the council has been talking about improving the High Street since the last century, so another decade without progress would be neither here nor there.

However, let’s look at the key objectives of the working group:

“1. To  review  proposals  for  initiatives  and  improvements  to  the  High  Street that  support  its  role  within the  town  centre  and  make recommendations  to  the  Executive  accordingly.

“2. To  review  other  opportunities  for  public  realm improvements  on  the High  Street.

“3. To  agree  a  strategy  for  events  and  publicity  promoting  the High  Street.”

The first question that has to be answered is ‘What IS the role of the High Street?’.  Thd council’s picture that we’re including in this article indicates that the road will be largely pedestrianised, so that people can stroll along it ‘window shopping’.  Further, to quote the council:  “The Council proposes that within the High Street environmental improvements to create a pedestrian friendly area will be provided.  Limited vehicle access will be maintained for that part of the High Street between Princess Way to Obelisk Way”

That seems clear.  But it conflicts with what we understand are the council leader’s views, and the wishes of some retailers who want on-street parking.  Until any such mismatch is resolved, radical solutions are probably out of reach.  However, radical solutions are needed to respond to radical changes in the way we shop.

Our second concern is that two of the three objectives for the group start:  “To review….”  This implies that the group won’t be producing any proposals or ideas itself, but will simply comment on schemes that are presented to it.  In practice, we imagine that the group will be intelligent enough to put forward its own suggestions, and not merely ‘review’, but this is not what the objectives say.

Finally, it seems reasonable that members of the group should be very familiar with the High Street and its activities throughout the year.  They have to understand the relative importance of weekday and weekend shopping, and the night economy, and trends over the years.  They have to know whether or not it is easy to park in the road on a busy Saturday afternoon.  They have to appreciate whether planting trees in the street would be an improvement or would cause unwanted obstacles.  Because of this, the council’s statement: “The Group will be politically balanced” may be politically wise, but it does not say that group members will be chosen based on their knowledge. (We’re not commenting on the members’ intrinsic abilities here, just on their experience.)  Still, we like organisations to be efficient, so perhaps we see things differently.

Spot Santa on his rounds!

CAMBERLEY EX ROUND TABLE AND 41 CLUB has sent us the following item of seasonal news….

CHRISTMAS SANTA FLOAT SCHEDULE OF APPEARANCES

https://www.facebook.com/Camberley41 http://www.41club.org/micro/camberley

Santa’s Christmas Float will be touring the streets of Camberley and Frimley on the nights of 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th of December. It will start its journeys at 6.00pm and finish at 8.00pm. Every effort is made to keep to our timetable, but sometimes bad weather or difficult traffic can hamper our progress and our schedule cannot be kept. Wherever possible we will put an alert on our Camberley 41 Club Facebook page, or our website if we are experiencing problems.

Between the 16th and 23rd of December, Santa will be spending all day between 9.00am and 6.00pm at several local supermarkets.

SUPERMARKET SCHEDULE

Friday 16– WAITROSE, BAGSHOT
Saturday 17 – LONGACRES
Tuesday 20 – WAITROSE, FRIMLEY
Wednesday 21 – SAINSBURY’s WATCHMOOR
Friday 23 – THE MEADOWS

santa

STREET BY STREET SCHEDULE

Tuesday 6th December – Frimley – Starting at Burleigh Road and then Sheridan Road, Lendore Rd, Trafford Road,Sheridan Road, Coombe Close, Shamrock Close, Frimley Green Road, Ansell Road, Middlemoor Rd, Purley Way, Barnes Rd, Ansell Rd, Bret Harte Rd, Frimley Grove Gardens.

Wednesday 7th December – Camberley/Frimley – Starting at the corner of the Portsmouth Road and Le Marchant Rd, the routes progresses past Wilmot Way and Tichborne Close to Longmeadow, Old Pasture Road, Mulgrave Road, Hawthorn Rd, Warren Rise, Broadwalk, Holly Hedge, Bicknell Rd, and Farm Rd.

Thursday 8th December – Frimley Road – Starting from the top of Frimley Rd at the Sullivan Av car park, the route progresses along Woodlands Rd, Frimley Road, Moorlands Rd, Oakley Rd, Brook Rd, Sinhurst Rd, Queen’s Rd, Moorlands Rd, Surrey Avenue, Stanhope Rd, Queen Mary Av, Doman Rd, Alexandra Av, to Edwards Av.

Saturday 10th December – Heatherside – Starting at the corner of the Upper Chobham Road and Cumberland Av, the route progresses along Norton Rd, Inglewood Av, Eskdale Way, Dansmere Close, Greenholme, Bramcote, Wensleydale, Cherrydale, Ravenstone Rd, back to Cumberland Rd and Buttermere Drive.

 No doubt Santa will be rattling a collecting tin for donations.  Help him to fill it!