The SHBC chief executive, with supporting staff, and representatives of Event by Event spoke to a meeting of residents last night. Event by Event are running the ice rink/German market/funfare that will be on the London Road Recreation Ground all December
This is a really difficult subject for the Eye. We don’t live anywhere near the recreation ground, so we won’t suffer from any noise or traffic problems that the event might cause. This makes it easy for us to take the side of those who will enjoy visiting the park and taking part in the various activities. However, if we did live near by, we’d probably see things very differently.
So, we’ll try to comment briefly on the meeting from a neutral stance…. We left at the end feeling somewhat reassured. A lot of thought and effort has obviously gone into preparing everything. Yes, there have been inexcusable lapses in the way parking and the installation of an electricity transformer have been managed. It would have been far better if these hadn’t happened – but at least corrective action by the council seems to have been taken promptly.
Inevitably, the main unresolved issue was whether traffic will grind to a halt in December and block residents in their houses. To some extent the borough council’s view was that this is very much a county council matter. It is the county council that has road and traffic management expertise, and it is responsible for the final decision. While technically this will be true, the fact does not give us much comfort. We’ve been watching the development of Camberley long enough to remember that, when the Atrium was still on the drawing board, many local people said that a roundabout in Southwell Park Road – where Charles Street heads north alongside the Atrium – was essential. The county council didn’t support the idea, and it left us with the shambolic junction that we have today.
In practice, we suspect that it’s too late to change traffic management plans significantly now, even if a clearly better scheme had been identified during the meeting. As the chief executive said, some disruption from a major event is inevitable. We can only hope that the pain proves to be bearable, so that the ice rink reappears next, and subsequent, winters.
Oh, and we wandered past the site of the ice rink yesterday. We were impressed by the amount of preparation being carried out on the tennis courts themselves. (We’re not commenting on the destruction of the shrubbery here – that’s another matter.) We happened to see the Fun House arriving on site, so that’s what we photographed. Here it is.