Back in August we showed this picture of Camberley’s ‘London Road Block’ (LRB). That’s the area between the High Street and Park Street, south of the A30 to Obelisk Way. The green line shows the whole LRB, and the red line shows what we suggested might be ‘phase 1’ of the LRB regeneration. The blue line delineates the existing Mall. The picture was produced by the Mall’s owners – the prime candidates to redevelop the LRB.
Well, six months later, our description of phase one still seems to be about right. To which we can add – deduced from information that’s publicly available – that part of the red area is likely to include a 600-space car park, adjacent to the A30. Much of the rest of the red area will (eventually) become a mixed use development. Aspirations to turn much of the LRB into a new ‘retail destination’ seem to have largely disappeared.
(The planning application to convert offices into flats at 4 High Street – which we reported a little while ago – has been approved. This small residential development will be, of course, within the red area.)
Where does this leave our beloved Allders building? Heaven only knows! We’ve recently seen an informed suggestion that its destiny is civic or retail use, with possible sale. So, nothing definite there! We don’t know whether an ‘anchor retail store’ – vital to any new major shopping area – has yet been signed up; we did read a while ago that one particular store had been ‘wooed’ for six years, but that the ‘marriage’ had still not taken place. We guess that this remains the case. And maybe a ‘mixed use development’ doesn’t have all that much of a need of an anchor store anyway.
There are changes proposed within the blue area – the current Mall site. Firstly, the closure of the under-used Bietigheim Way entrance, and its replacement by cafes/restaurants. (Bietigheim Way is explicitly excluded from the near-term refurbishment of the Mall, and maybe this is part of the reason).
Secondly, the improvement of the High Street entrance. Thirdly, the substantial upgrading of the western Obelisk Way entrance, with that stretch of Obelisk Way being enclosed in some way. Disappointingly, there’s no mention of a public square at the junction of Obelisk Way and Park Street, though this square featured in the ‘Town Centre Masterplan and Public Realm Strategy’ of just a year ago. At the time, the square was described as a ‘central hub’ and the future ‘heart of Camberley’.
We’re not going to be courageous enough to predict when the changes in the blue area might be implemented. But it wouldn’t surprise us if the Bietigheim Way alterations happened first. Retail units just inside the entrance haven’t been occupied for some years, so they’re not earning their keep. Doing something about that is probably a priority.
Of course, we’ve learned over the years that plans and proposals come and go. All the above is based on firm information – but none of it might actually happen!
[Apologies to early readers for putting LBR rather than LRB in the text above. Thanks for pointing it out – the error’s been corrected. It’s not the first time we’ve got it wrong; it must be an odd mental quirk!]