You may have read in last week’s local paper the statement that “the [borough] council is in the process of exploring options for the Arena in terms of what will be required to meet the changing needs of the local community in the coming years.”
Well, at the rate the council is moving, it’s easy to identify the needs of the current local community. Everyone will be dead!
We’re repeating below part of an item that we wrote a year ago. It reproduced quotes from the borough council over the last decade.
2006 borough council Corporate Plan, key priority: “Develop a replacement strategy for the Arena within the Camberley area by April 2008”.
April 2008: “At a meeting of the council’s executive last month, members considered a report that recommended the funding of a feasibility study into options available to the council for the future use of the civic area east of Knoll Road, in addition to delivering a replacement for the Arena Leisure Centre.”
End 2011: “A taskforce is to be assembled to look at all options for the future of the Arena Leisure Centre when the current contract runs out [in 2016]” [oops, we can’t find the original reference, so you’ll just have to trust us! But doubting Thomases can find confirmation here: http://surreyheath-residents.co.uk/2011/10/20/arena-project-gets-the-go-ahead/%5D UPDATE – the SHBC 2011 Corporate Plan said: “Develop options for the future improvement of the Arena Leisure Centre – by Sept 2011”
July 2014: “Options for the future of this facility are being investigated with an opportunity to redevelop the site into a state-of-the-art leisure centre, currently being explored. Surrey Heath Borough Council Executive will consider investment options to refurbish or redevelop the facility.” [Camberley Town Centre Statement 2014-2030″]
Dec 2014 : “Strategic Objective: Renew the leisure centre”. [Addendum. This statement came from a draft version of the borough council’s “CAMBERLEY TOWN CENTRE MASTERPLAN AND PUBLIC REALM STRATEGY” The final version was dated March 2015.] UPDATE – The Town Centre Statement, 2014 – 2030 says that the “Surrey Heath Borough Council Executive will consider investment options to refurbish or redevelop the facility. 2015 – 2017″
and, in 2016, it seems from last week’s paper: “the [borough] council is in the process of exploring options for the Arena…”
Now that the grand plans for redeveloping the London Road Block (LRB) – the northern part of Camberley town centre – seem to be dead, our long-standing urging that the council should have a ‘Plan B’ is even more relevant. One of the suggestions we’ve made is to put a brand new leisure centre on the LRB. Redevelop the existing Arena site as flats – which should be popular with Grand Avenue residents, as it ought to reduce traffic in the road somewhat. Also much of the A30 is bordered by flats already, so more flats there should be no big deal. Importantly, town centres in future will be more about living, leisure and pleasure, and less about retail. So putting a new Arena, a few shops, a new car park and some decent flats on the LRB would make sense.
(We have walked around the current Arena site, and the London Road Block, counting our paces as we go. We reckon A would fit into B with space to spare!)