You just might have read the short mention we made the other day of a pointless pole that’s in the middle of the pavement at the top of the High Street. The pole that’s been there for years without serving any useful purpose.
Well, at long last, someone’s found a use for it. Do you think that ‘the council’ might actually take notice now and remove the pole?
(Oh, and yes, that’s yet another car parked in the ‘permits only’ section of the parking bay.)
It looks like there’ll be yet more flats in the town centre before too long. This time, they’ll be over Pizza Express. The borough council has been notified of the intention to change the “use of the first and second floors from B1 (Office) to C3 (Residential) to form 6 x 2-bed flats and 2 x studio apartments.”
They sound like idea flats for people who don’t like self-catering!
A few days ago we said that the day before we’d shown the former Currys/PC World shop with the lights on inside. But we hadn’t! We’d intended to, but somehow we got into a bit of a muddle and commented on the impending closure of Linens Direct instead.
BUT, we’re not going to waste that photo, so here it is….
The shop looks quite large when it’s empty. You may remember – we guess that the new occupant will be Fun Foto Factory.
We’re pretty sure that we wouldn’t have to dig too far to find a council request to put litter in a bin and not on the ground.
Well, John (thanks, John) has sent us a number of photos of the area surrounding a litter bin just outside a side entrance to the borough council office grounds. We wouldn’t like to jump to conclusions, but surely council staff aren’t responsible for the cigarette butts all around?
OK, it’s not so much a sign as an outline of a bicycle painted on the road near the Old Thai House Restaurant. What purpose does it serve? Cycles are generally allowed on the roadway, so there’s nothing special there. And it doesn’t mark the beginning of any cycle lane. Indeed, as you can see from the worn white paint, it’s driven over by pretty much every vehicle heading down that service road. Perhaps we should ask our councillors to investigate. How many of them cycle themselves we wonder….
(Oh, and what’s the betting that the cars parked in the ‘permit only’ section of the parking bay haven’t got a permit? Virtually a dead cert.)
We were stuck in a stationary queue of cars on the first ramp of Main Square car park for so long yesterday that we switched the engine off, and the radio on. We cursed for being so stupid as to arrive late on a Saturday morning. Next time we won’t bother to come at all.
The frustrating thing is that – as these photos that we took after we’d finally parked show – there were loads of empty parking spaces.
Yes, it’s partly the fault of drivers who hold up everyone else while they wait for a parking space to clear lower down in the car park and who then shuffle backwards and forwards to park in it, causing even greater hold ups. But it’s also the fault of the borough council that has made negligible efforts to speed the flow through the car park. We’ve been accused in the past of having no respect for the council; well, as far as this particular issue is concerned, we don’t. Why on earth discourage people from visiting the town? Is Farnborough bribing those responsible?
Of course, it’s not the whole of Camberley that’s for sale. But an important part of the town centre – The Mall – apparently is.
In essence, The Mall is owned by a company called Capital and Regional, which owns several other shopping malls. A few days ago, C&R presented its half-year results, and stated: “Enhanced focus on recycling of capital reflected in active consideration of unsolicited offer for sale of The Mall, Camberley around current valuation.” If we understand it correctly, that means someone has offered to buy The Mall for about £88.5 million, and that C&R would quite like to have the money. Moreover, the fact that this offer was made public we interpret as advertising for other competitive bids.
We’re not totally surprised by the news. Quite a while ago we suggested that C&R had become less enthusiastic about investing further in Camberley. (See ‘Camberley, the town that time will forget’ http://wp.me/p3Dlu2-1Lk ). Moreover, C&R have expanded into leisure activities – cinemas and gyms – but the Atrium has, we feel, got there first. So The Mall has somewhat limited potential.
Is this good or bad news? Probably bad. The Mall is a well-maintained facility, and the organisation has been a good citizen in Camberley in the past. There’s a fair chance that a successor would not have such high standards; funding a yacht in Monte Carlo might matter more to them.
Where does this leave the borough council? We’ll wait for an announcement. But the council has invested years of effort working with The Mall to come up with a regeneration scheme for the London Road Block. (Regular readers may recall that on more than one occasion we’ve urged the council to pursue a Plan B – any reasonable Plan B – more vigorously.). If C&R does sell up, the London Road Block may stay as it is ‘for ever’. The council’s aspiration to be a Top 100 town will be even further out of reach. And, of course, is there anything more that the council can do to dissuade C&R from selling up? (Is there more that it should have done??)
In the meantime, will The Mall’s ‘facelift’ of its buildings continue? We shall see……
Yesterday we mentioned that the lights were on in the former Currys/PCWorld shop in the Mall. We speculated that a new tenant might be on the way.
What we had forgotten was that Fun Foto Factory was coming to the Mall. (Actually, it was Camberley Observed who pointed it out to us…) Is FFF the new tenant? Facebook tells much of the story:
Probably. 2+2 does usually equal 4. There are other empty shop units in the Mall, but it’s a fair bet that we’ve got our arithmetic right this time.
(If you’re reading this on Facebook, you’ll only see one of the two photos to which it refers. But the Eye can’t influence which one it is….)
It’s not that long since Julian Charles opened in the Mall. We’re not experts, but some of the things it sells seem rather similar to those sold by Linens Direct only a few shops away. But, sadly, this doesn’t look like it’s going to go on for much longer; Linens Direct now has big notices in its windows saying that it’s closing.
It’s rarely good news when a shop closes. Investments are lost, and staff become unemployed. We hope that no-one is too distressed in this case.)
We won’t keep mentioning the soon-to-be-in-Camberley game shop. But here it is for one last time.