Camberley’s library. Is it muddled thinking?

The borough council’s chief executive is quoted as saying during an interview last year: “….the land east of Knoll Road where there are proposals for a new library….”

Now, if there are proposals for a new library, presumably expenditure on the fabric of the existing one should be kept to a minimum?  Yet, it’s about to be closed “from 5pm on Saturday 28 November for essential window replacement and asbestos removal. They hope to reopen in early February 2016.”

P1130278b

Of course, the work may, indeed, be “essential”.  Or maybe it’ll prove to be a bit of a waste of money because the building becomes redundant in the near future.  Or maybe the proposals for a new library just won’t happen.  It wouldn’t be the first time – or the second time – that a local plan has gone nowhere, unfortunately.

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8 thoughts on “Camberley’s library. Is it muddled thinking?

  1. Camberley Town Centre plan.. as the ink is still drying. The plan is compromised.

    Camberley consists of Three zones or communities and Two uses.

    The Visitors
    Atrium and Mall shops daytime and evening
    Camberley Hundreds – the Night life until 03:45.

    The Residents
    The Pensioner. Camberley simply a retirement Village

    Please note the debate .. David Whitcroft was spot on.
    http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/residents/planning/planning-policy/CTC/CTCAAPDiscussionNote.pdf

    Is the management of office and business accommodation in policy TC5
    realistic in the face of competing office and business parks and declining provision
    in the Borough?
    Is the policy consistent with paragraph 22 of the Framework?
    Commentary
    (i) SHBC stated that it is important to retain offices and other employment to
    ensure a balanced town centre economy. Some long-term vacant office stock is
    suitable for redevelopment for other uses, but the commercial office area in Knoll
    Road is attracting and retaining tenants more successfully than most parts of the
    town centre, and this area will be protected as a core office area.

    (ii) CBRE: Welcome policy TC5 which states that development resulting in the loss
    of business floorspace will be acceptable where it achieves other objectives of the
    Plan.
    (iii) Indigo Planning Ltd (representing Valad Europe Ltd): The need to
    protect the Knoll Road commercial area from development which would result in
    the loss of office employment is arbitrary and questionable; it fails to comply with
    the guidance in para 22 of the Framework.
    (iv) David Whitcroft: Policy TC5 is negative and virtually writes off Camberley
    town centre as a location for employment opportunities.

    • Yes, I remember the ‘lobbying’ well. I also remember SHBC meekly accepting that the London Road regeneration could be six storeys high, even though this is categorically against other ‘policies’, and inappropriate for Camberley. What The Mall wants, The Mall gets. Which is understandable if you rely totally on them as your only option….

  2. I’m not sure how it would work, but a online Q&A between the council and the dedicated Camberley Eye readership would be great. Perhaps the Camberley Eye readership could submit questions via your site to be answered by the council, particularly on the re-development plans. One of the main problems with the council’s re-development plan is the seemingly complete lack of accountability to actually deliver it.

    • Simon, it’s a tempting an interesting proposal. Many thanks for it. But I’m not sure it would work well in practice. Sadly, many people are actually quite apathetic (or do I mean that they’ve got higher priorities?) and I suspect that the supply of constructive questions would dry up quite rapidly. That is, apart from questions about parking. The subject of parking always attracts lots of interest! Secondly, the borough council shows no enthusiasm for communicating; certainly no enthusiam for public communication. (Of course we get PR communications, but otherwise the council office drawbridge is usually firmly in the up position. Council officers and councillors should be familiar sights around town – but are they?). Finally, I don’t think we can blame the council entirely for the nonsense that there’s no accountability for actually delivering plans. I’m not an expert, but my understanding is that ‘central government’ imposed a planning regime which concentrated on WRITING documents. IMPLEMENTATION wasn’t part of the deal. So, as always, if targets are imposed, they’re what everyone concentrates on. So council implementation skills atrophy – as with the case of a ‘new’ Arena. Discussed for a decade; still being discussed!

  3. Shock Horror 🙂
    There is one small matter I suppose [called Council TAX] and the fact that SHBC work for the Residents of Camberley. They control local and government funding, the residents and the Eye have noticed the unhealthy SHBC focus on the Visitors rather than the Residents. The current review of license premises [Consultation] will no doubt follow history and the needs of Visitors rather than the Camberley Residents.

    We and the Eye have contributed to previous opportunity to provide feedback…

    Outcome
    Residents chose to live in Camberley, therefore they must suffer and endure the impact of the Night Time economy and Crime – Camberley Party Hundreds through until 03:45.

    However: The new Pensioner Village that will be Camberley will need lights out by 22.00. !!

    • I think I disagree, Mike. As always, my comments AREN’T about the council’s social services. I’ve no experience of these, and what little I know of them is positive. But I don’t feel that the council focuses on ‘anyone’ as far as the town centre is concerned. It’s hardly a draw for visitors; the cramped stairwells in Main Square car park, and the appalling 24hr toilet at Knoll Road public car park are enough to deter anyone from visting twice. And plenty of residents head down the M3 to Basingstoke – or even Southampton – in preference to shopping locally. I’m thinking of joining them…..

      • I live in Addlestone and visited Camberley for the first time about 6 months ago. I was so impressed by the range of shops (especially the lighting one) that I frequently return – and have bought a range of friends with me. All of them have been impressed and some have returned on their own. My local alternatives are Staines and Woking, both full of identical, characterless chains. I think you should be proud of Camberley – it is better than the majority of towns out there.

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