New look Bracknell

Sarah has sent us a link to yesterday’s article in the Sunday Mail which features the new shopping centre in Bracknell:

Sarah adds: “While we continue to battle and hope that one day Surrey Heath will deliver a viable and exciting plan and actually put it in place for Camberley, Bracknell is making the headlines!  Such a shame nothing ever comes to fruition here in Camberley.”

Of course, our borough council is now making very promising statements about its plans for the town.  But, as far as we can tell, council plans haven’t resulted in one bag of cement being mixed, or one brick being laid, for years.  So it’s up to the council to put its mortar where its mouth is – soon!  Or is it already too late?


20 thoughts on “New look Bracknell

  1. They will not act proactively but instead decide to increase the parking charges even more if that is possible and reduce available parking options making the town centre even less attractive and accessible to visitors than it is already.

  2. I fear there is a significant difference between the two authorities – Pride. Bracknell clearly have it in abundance, I’m afraid Surrey Heath simply dont understand it.

  3. I live in Bracknell and feel your pain. For 17 years our town centre has been in limbo. The council and developers continued to proivde positive, yet pointless updates that all meant one thing “its going nowhere fast”. I still find it hard to believe that The Lexicon is actually opening on 7th September.

    • Many thanks for that. So there is light at the end of the tunnel! But does the journey really have to take so long? And maybe the destination isn’t the right destination when it’s finally reached.

  4. All you need to remember is how long the St Marys road car park was in existence after the compulsory purchase of properties which would eventually become the atrium. Think it was about 20yrs. Things never go fast in Camberley

    • Not all the Atrium delays were the ‘fault’ of the borough council, of course. Nothing is without risk, and the future isn’t always know-able. But – based on good authority – SHBC spent six years chasing an anchor store without success. It was pretty obvious that the Mall’s previous owners weren’t particularly enthusiastic about redeveloping the London Road Block. So the council should’ve had a ‘Plan B’ ready and waiting before now.

  5. Sarah mentions the development of Bracknell centre nearing completion. Mention should also be made of the centre development in Wokingham, Farnborough and Woking. Everywhere it seems but excludingCamberley. Perhaps not surprising when one looks at the state of the High Street with shops at the London Road end mostly derelict and shoppers struggling to pass along narrow pavements while cars perambulate. What on earth is the cost/benefit that prevents the Council from closing the High Street to traffic, other than a system of careful vehicle access as provided in Park Street; does anyone know?

    • Michael, some of the retailers in the High Street are (or were?) dead against pedestrianisation. The council is trying to keep them happy. But it’s a compromise with consequences. The council wants to encourage people to linger in the town – and spend more money in up-market shops. However a road with traffic through it is more suited to take-aways and quick low-value purchases. I’ve nothing against either of these but they’re not consistent with a ‘classy’ town. They’re more suited to an everyday shopping parade. The frustrating thing is that closing the road on just busy times – eg Saturday afternoon – would probably be a better arrangement, but the council seems reluctant (ie dead against) trying ideas out before implementing them.

      • In the future I think closure will be inevitable anyway, due to traffic pollution. I have recently obtained pollution data recorded in the High Street but the info. is so sparse that I need to progress this. I have also emailed my local councillor, Richard Brookes.
        Keep up your outstanding work with the Camberley Eye. Without it I would have no idea what is going on in Camberley!
        Incidentally, I believe the work of the late photographer Ron Francis is on display in the Museum or Mall shop. I am anxious to view this but have you seen any town publicity relating to this? I haven’t, but in a recent discussion with the Museum manager she was adamant that events are well publicised. I disagreed.

      • I’ve dug into the SHBE website, Michael, and it says that the Ron Francis exhibition is on until 2nd Sept. But you’re right, SHBC doesn’t know how to communicate. It dumps information in its website – which has an inadequate search facility – and thinks that this is communication. It IS hard to get information across to residents at large – we’re all deluged with stuff which we have to ignore in order to have time to do anything – so the council has to be much more proactive.

  6. Hi everyone. Tomorrow we have a chance to make our own views on the council’s plans for key streets and spaces in Camberley Town, giving greater priority to pedestrians.
    If you feel strongly you must get down to Princess Way tomorrow, 26th July between 12.00-16.00. Here’s extract from the link, the link has more details in the plans.

    Surrey Heath Borough Council is working with a team of architects and landscape architects on plans to improve some of the key streets and spaces in Camberley Town Centre and give greater priority to pedestrians. We’d like to know what you think of the ideas that we are developing.
    An exhibition of the emerging proposals is in place at the Surrey Heath Museum in Camberley from Thursday 20 July. This exhibition sets out our draft plans for High Street, Princess Way and Knoll Walk. Once we have received this feedback, we will use it to help inform the more detailed design work that is needed. You can comment by:
    Completing a comment form at the exhibition;
    Attending our market stall event on Wednesday 26 July at Princess Way from 12.00 to 16.00 and discussing the proposals with our team; or
    Emailing your comments to

    • Apologies, I’ve only just seen your comment/information. But I intend showing a photo of your Princess Way stall tomorrow, together with details of what’s proposed. I have put the information on this blog once before, so readers will have been alerted to the position.

  7. Consultation,consultation,feedback ,feedback …..consultation,consultation and so it goes on.
    The saying “give a consultant your watch and he’ll tell you the time” springs to mind !!
    The solution is “simple” – better shops ,cleaner more attractive shopping environment – but clearly Camberley doesn’t appeal to the retailers who would make a difference so we have shops closing and more will close as trade declines ……the whole process is a 2-4 year project IF better retailers could be enticed to open and this will clearly not happen as it stands and as surrounding towns greatly improving their shopping offer the opportunities for Camberley disappear.
    I’m sure the next consultation is already in the diary for next year!

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