Does the council ever look back?

It’s getting on for mid-way in the council’s year. So we thought we’d look at the Annual Plan for 2021 and see how the council is doing as far as its town centre aims are concerned.

One objective caught our attention. Quote: “As the country comes out of lockdown develop a communications campaign that strongly promotes the ‘Unique Selling Points’ of Camberley Town Centre” The target date for completion was the end of May.

We’re not aware of any such campaign – but, we imagine, it wouldn’t be aimed at the Eye. (Who would it be aimed at?) We trust though, that it’s more robust than the council’s Vision produced back in 2014? Remember this two-part video, the beginning of which, quite remarkably, highlights the strengths of neighbouring towns?

The proposal that Camberley should become a Top 100 Town was never credible. When the council failed to explain how the town’s position within the Top 100 would be measured or monitored – and, of course, it never provided any progress report – the proposal became an embarrassment that was quietly dropped.

The frustrating thing is that the council’s deeds don’t match its words. The council claims that the town’s military heritage is a key part of our identity. So why wasn’t this reflected in any way in the makeover of the High Street and Knoll Walk? Plaques, sculpture, street furniture could all have been chosen appropriately. A long-lasting opportunity to promote our “Unique Selling Points” was lost.

Catastrophe in Princess Way

Our first photo today shows the remains of a small egg on the pavement in Princess Way. It’s a pigeon’s egg – fallen from above the boarded-up window of what was once BHS.

We suspect that inside that part of the building must be pretty unpleasant by now. Pigeons have been nesting there for quite a while. And their droppings on the pavement below suggest that quite a few of them must have made a home there, safe and out of the weather.

Main Square Parking – a stitch in time…

We HOPE that the council is stitching Main Square car park in time. As we showed recently, rusty marks on the beams supporting the top floor imply that rain water has been penetrating the structure for a while. Not good!

We’re guessing that today’s closure of the car park top floor is to cure the problem. We’re not convinced that the quality of the re-surfacing perhaps a couple of years ago was satisfactory – some leaks appeared as soon as it had been ‘completed’.

(There’s no need to point out the mis-spelling. We’ve noticed it already.)

A line has to be drawn somewhere…

A little while ago, Paul sent us this photo. He commented that the white lines in Southwell Park Road and Upper Charles Street had been renewed, and they looked clean and bright. But, as he pointed out, the lines down the middle of the road were had not repainted. “Does this mean they are not deamed useful, were they forgotten, are there changes in traffic management on the way, or did the contractors run out of paint?”. Heaven only knows!

Oh dear…

We took today’s two photos some days ago, but we hadn’t any plans to publish them. However, recently there’s been some discussion about the state of the pavement in the High Street and Princess Way, so we’re showing our pictures. The recently ‘regenerated’ streets aren’t much of an improvement on their predecessors. Certainly not ‘£5 million-worth’.

Who do we blame – the council or the residents? Probably mainly the latter. Yes, the council is responsible for the choice of pale blocks; tarmac would be more forgiving. It also obviously doesn’t clean the pavements frequently enough – albeit at our expense. But it’s the great British public, or part of it, that causes the mess in the first place.

Butt

Today’s photo is slightly inspiring but mainly depressing.

For some years the roof over the shop that is currently occupied by Jack Wills has leaked in heavy rain. It should have been fixed – but that might not be as simple as it sounds. It can be quite difficult to trace the source of a leak…

Anyway, the mainly depressing bit is that the Square (or is it Jack Wills itself?) seems to have decided that it’s not practical/economically-justified to cure the leak. If you look very closely at our photo (and you have to look closely, unfortunately), you’ll see water butts on either side of the pillar next to the Jack Wills entrance. They’re fed by black down-pipes from the plastic guttering that has been fixed beneath the beige facade above. You can probably just about make out the brackets supporting the guttering That’s awful.

But, the slightly inspiring bit is that it’s good to see ingenuity at work, rather than just living with the leak.