SHBC’s parking system seems to be playing up AGAIN!

If you’re parking in Main Square car park for today’s lights switch on, be prepared to fight the parking system.  We suspect that the camera over the central entrance barrier is letting cars in without reading their number plates accurately.  Which is ok until you come to pay.  The Glide app remains mute, and the pay machines say that the number you’ve entered isn’t recognised.  The man behind the office window simply tells you to pay in the normal way – which doesn’t work, of course.  Unless you know to press ‘Continue’ when the pay machine comes up with the error message, you’re stuck.  If you DO press ‘Continue’, you’re prompted to enter your time of arrival manually.  Some people might be tempted to enter a rather later time than was actually the case……

As we often ask, does anyone care?


Christmas lights – the little switch on!

Although the big Christmas lights switch on in Camberley isn’t until 5:00 pm today, one decoration on the A30 jumped the gun by several days.  It was already up and running earlier this week.

(The decoration was a bit difficult to photograph against the sky in daylight.  And the CCTV camera insisted on getting in the way.  But you can still see that the lights were lit.)

Ashwood House

You’ll know about the council’s intention to convert the virtually empty Ashwood House into rather more than one hundred flats.  The planning applications committee is due to consider the proposal today.  The council officer’s recommendation is that the proposal should be approved;  we’d be surprised if it wasn’t.

All the illustrations we’ve seen give us the impression of a couple of glass-fronted storeys helicoptered onto the top of a brick building.  Maybe the real thing will be more exciting, but so far we’re somewhat underwhelmed.  We deduce that this has been the general reaction;  as far as we can tell not one member of the public has commented on the plans, to support or to oppose them.

Today’s meeting will be busy.  Indeed, there are too many applications to consider in one evening, so there’ll be an ‘overspill’ meeting in a few days’ time.



Benson for Beds – dejected and probably rejected

Back in August we highlighted a planning application for the ‘Benson for Beds’ shop in the High Street. The proposal was for the “Erection of a part four storey, part three storey, part single storey rear extension and conversion of first floor accommodation to provide extended ground floor retail… accommodation with residential accommodation over in the form of 6 No. one bedroom and 4 No. two bedroom flats with ground floor roof level amenity space parking, bin and cycle stores.”

At the time, we recorded that the application proposed retaining the existing building, which we supported, but it also proposed a completely new building behind it which, we suggested, resembled a large shoe box, and which had no architectural merit.

The planning applications committee is due to consider the proposal at its meeting this week.  The council officer recommends rejecting the scheme.  We tend to agree with the recommendation, although we’re concerned that we might be left with a deteriorating eyesore as a result.

Borough council leak – the latest information

Water comes through the ceiling of level four of Main Square car park when it rains.  As the building has only just had the roof coating renewed, this is a bit disturbing. You can just about see water droplets – and black marks left by them – on the ceiling near the camera in our first photo.

We reckon the council will have to call the coating firm back to fix the problem.  For free, we’ll tell them that the cause is probably failure of the sealing round this drain on the roof.

(The Eye enjoys finding excuses to publish pictures of drains and other less-than-thrilling features!)


The Central Bar looks closed?

We don’t remember the security notices taped to the outside of the front door of the Central Bar (formerly the Working Men’s Club) in Obelisk Way.  They give the impression that the building isn’t occupied, as did a collection of post on the floor just inside the front door when we took this photo.  However, we’re not sure of the position  because, although outline planning permission to redevelop the building was granted a year ago, no more-detailed application has been submitted as far as we know.  More to the point, the window above the door is open in our picture.

The Square – we like the new look. BUT……

The borough council has just announced that the “First phase of The Square’s renovations is complete in time for Christmas”  The announcement includes this photograph:

Now, we confess, we quite like the new decor.  Grace Reynolds Walk looks wider and brighter.  But we have a serious reservation about the flooring.  Nearly four years ago, the relevant council portfolio holder said: “Dementia presents a huge challenge to society both now and increasingly in the future. Surrey Heath is expected to experience a major increase in people with the condition over the next six years. This 45% increase is the highest rate of growth in Surrey and is attributed to the demographic age of the borough. It is vital that we make sure the needs of dementia and carers are taken into account.”

Now, we stress, we’re no expert in either dementia or flooring.  But it doesn’t take many minutes searching the internet to find statements such as “The Alzheimer’s Society reports that people with dementia can experience visuo-perceptual difficulties, leading to misperceptions and distortions of reality – a dark patch on a floor can be mistaken for a hole for example…. This means avoiding …pattern.”  Or “if kitchen linoleum or bathroom tiles are in a black and white checkerboard motif, the black areas may seem like holes in the ground which need to be stepped around. Imagine how confusing and frustrating that could feel.”  Or (from Surrey County Council, no less) “Avoid….patterned floor surfaces”

Based on these statements, we feel that the new flooring is incompatible with the council’s four-year-old policy to “make sure the needs of dementia and carers are taken into account.”

We repeat, we’re not experts.  But, because of this, we’ve submitted a freedom of information request to the council to establish the position.  If our concerns prove well-founded, there should still be time to avoid making a mistake in the rest of the mall.  We’ll publish the council’s reply on the Eye.