“SHBC invites discussion of latest Annual Plan” – I

To quote the borough council “Following the publication of its Annual Plan for 2017-18, Surrey Heath Borough Council will hold the latest in their series of #TalkSurreyHeath interactive live stream events later this month to discuss its contents.”

Questions can be asked before or during the on-line event.  Accordingly, we have sent the following e-mail:

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The council is to be congratulated on the genuine achievements described in its latest Annual Plan.  But I would be grateful if you could answer some questions about the future at the forthcoming live streamed event:

The council’s Annual Plan 2011/12 includes the following:

Determine revised key milestones for the London Road Block / A30 frontage, Land East of Knoll Road and Station Area projects – by April 2011.
Develop options for the future improvement of the Arena Leisure Centre – by Sept 2011.

The Annual Plan of 2014/15 includes the following:

To adopt Camberley Town Centre Area Action Plan by 30 June 2014.
Deliver all town centre car park capital improvements by 31 October 2014.
Development Agreement for the town centre signed by 31 December 2014.
Prepare public realm strategy for Camberley Town Centre by 31 December 2014.
Planning Application by 31 December 2014.

It is noticeable that both the above plans included specific target dates.  However, this practice seems to have been dropped in the Plans for at least the last three years.  For example, the Annual Plan of 2017/18 sets out the following:

Take forward the refurbishment and rebranding of the Mall shopping centre in Camberley.
Commence redevelopment of Ashwood House in Camberley into high quality development and aim to maximise the uses on the ground floor.
Commence redevelopment of Pembroke House on the Frimley Road to provide affordable housing.
Bring forward proposals for the redevelopment of Camberley’s ‘London Road Block’ including an outline planning application.
Improve the public spaces across the town centre starting with Princess Way and the High Street.
Bring forward proposals for the Arena Leisure Centre facility.

1. Is the omission of dates deliberate?

In addition:

2. Does “Take forward the refurbishment and rebranding of the Mall [in 2017-2018]..” mean ‘Refurbish and rebrand the Mall’?  If not, what specific deliverables are intended?

3. Are the second and third targets, above, of the 2017/18 plan sufficiently ambitious?  The recent appointment of Berkeley Homes to carry out the redevelopments meets the as-stated target to “commence redevelopment” already.  What more will be delivered during the year?  Similarly, the target to “improve the public spaces” could – trivially – be met by removing chewing gum from the pavement more frequently.  If something more specific is intended, can this be stated?

4. “Bring forward proposals” conventionally means that proposals will be set out for discussion.  Will the London Road Block proposals be firm and be made public, or will they be just options for internal SHBC consideration?

5. Why are the 2011/12 and 2017/18 objectives for Arena apparently so similar?  Also, what progress has been made since the 2006 Corporate Plan: “Develop a replacement strategy for the Arena within the Camberley area by April 2008.”?

Many thanks.

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We’ll watch and listen for the answers during the live streamed event – which takes place on Tuesday evening (see goo.gl/oml9ZJ) – with interest.

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