The London Road Block. We sit and wonder….

We wonder about the future of Camberley’s London Road Block (the area between Park Street and the High Street, and between the A30 and – roughly – Boots).  We all know that the council is pinning its hopes on a commercial organisation redeveloping it into a modern shopping centre.  But when?

The last explicit public statement that we’ve seen is that a planning application for the redevelopment should be submitted during the first half of this year.  However, a statement emerged a few weeks ago that implied that no definite decision would be made – or made public, at least – until around the end of this year.  We don’t expect a planning application to be submitted before then.

There are two ways of looking at the outlook for retail.  Firstly, the positive one.  Investors are “piling into retail” according to this Daily Telegraph on-line article:

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Then there’s the negative way of looking at things.  According to the above article, quite a few owners of shopping centres are putting their assets up for sale!  Presumably they think that this is the right time to exit the business.  Ho, hum. Half full or half empty?

Or, to muddle thing still further, it appears that some businesses see this as an opportunity to acquire existing shopping centres, inject some expertise into their management and operation, add value to them, and – we guess – then sell them.

If an inspection cover isn’t strong enough…

We’re not entirely sure how to react to this inspection cover in the pavement alongside the A30 service road.  Presumably something heavy drove over it.  So, should we criticise ‘someone’ for the fact that it hasn’t been replaced by a heavy-weight cast iron cover, up to the task?  Should we praise the council for a pragmatic and relatively cheap ‘solution’ to the collapse?  Hmm.

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Garden centre observations!

The Eye is a keen gardener (but you don’t have to believe EVERYTHING) that you read here!).  So during our frequent trawls of local garden centres, two things have caught our attention recently.

Firstly, two notices on the same barbecue (sorry, the photos were taken rather hastily). One notice says that ‘Quartz start ignition’ starts first time every time.  The other tells users what to do if ignition fails…. IMG_0846IMG_0847The second photo was taken just yesterday.  Autumn is upon us!  Where did the summer go??

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Hark the Herald… but it’ll be in vain

Digging through our files, we came across this text by the borough council.  It was written a little more than eight years ago.

“The prestigious Atrium development on land west of Park Street includes a public art opportunity for Camberley as part of the construction programme. The Council has the responsibility to lead the choice of artwork and to liaise with the applicant on the siting and design.”

“The Project has two elements; a public art feature in Park Street and two Herald Features on the A30. This report sets out the arrangements for the public art element only. The Herald features will form part of a later phase….

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We all know that the art feature in Park Street was completed.  Here’s ‘The Right Way’ while it was still being constructed.  But whatever happened to the two ‘Herald Features’ on the A30?  Are they still in the pipeline?  Assuming that money was earmarked for them, what happened to it?

Useless council signs? (Useless signs, not useless council, obviously.)

The meaning of the blue circular sign at the entrance to Camberley’s Main Square car park seems clear.  Cyclists should keep to the left (using the red footpath with a yellow pedestrian silhouette on it).  Pedestrians should keep to the right (going through the car-operated barrier?).

Why cyclists should want to enter the car park here at all beats us – the cycle stands on the right in the photo aren’t accessible from this entrance.

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What’s more, presumably the red ‘Ground Floor’ sign indicates that you must keep to the right if you want to stay on the ground floor.  Not that anything different happens if you keep to the left.  Unless, you’re driving a car, that is.  If you are, keeping left results in a nasty crunching sound.

Do either of these signs – for which residents must have paid – serve any useful purpose?

Are we entitled to think that no-one in the council actually cares?  Should we worry that other council activities may be of a similar standard?

Graffiti in Park Street

It’s an interesting debate – or perhaps not.  What’s the dividing line between graffiti sprayed on a wall, and graffiti sprayed on an inspection cover?  The question occurred to us when we saw this yellow lettering appear in Camberley’s Park Street.  Does the fact that the lettering has, presumably, a purpose, make it more acceptable?

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Should the borough council rush round and remove the paint as soon as possible??

Absolute conversion into yet more flats

The office block called Absolute, in Frimley’s Lyon Way industrial estate, is the subject of a new planning application.  Inevitably, the intention is to convert the building into flats.

“Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class O of the General Permitted Development Order for the conversion of offices to 36 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom flats”

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The first floor of the building used to be occupied by Surrey County Council.  This notice is still above the abandoned reception desk – it can only just about be seen, let-alone photographed, from outside the building.

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Photocopied notices stuck on the entrance lobby windows state that the Registrar of Births and Deaths has moved to the borough council’s offices in Knoll Road.  We don’t know what has happened to the other services.

Defending nature…….

We don’t normally publicise good causes – there are just too many of them for us to cope. But we’re showing the following ‘by special request’, especially as it relates to Thames Basin Heaths – our neighbourhood.  (Also, there was a bit of a technical challenge in reproducing the information, and we don’t like being beaten!)

RSPB

New Forest

I’m asking for just three minutes of your time today to help save nature.

The New Forest and Thames Basin Heaths are just two of the special places that have been protected by the Nature Directives.

The bedrock of nature conservation in the UK and across Europe, the Directives have provided the highest level of protection to vulnerable habitats and species for the past 30 years – and they work.

However, European leaders are now considering weakening these vital laws, and rolling back years of progress.

To stop the Directives being eroded in any way, we URGENTLY need to pile on the pressure. Whether you embrace nature to walk your dog, entertain the children or simply recharge your batteries, we need your help to:

  • Defend the laws that protect nature throughout the UK and across Europe
  • Preserve special places for future generations
  • Protect wildlife which may otherwise be lost forever

Please act NOW. You have one chance to officially have your say. Without your help, it could all be gone tomorrow.

Thank you for defending our nature,

Mike Clarke

 

Chief Executive, RSPB

DEFEND NATURE NOW

Charles Church has disappeared….

We’ve mentioned the office blocks in Camberley’s Knoll Road a couple of times recently, and we’ve rather got into the habit.  So here’s a relatively minor change.  At least, it’s a minor change as far as passers-by are concerned.

Remember Charles Church?

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If you do, it IS just a memory.  For it’s now Persimmon – and it has been for a little while.

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