We wouldn’t normally write about Frimley in the Eye. It’s too far away… But possibly residents from the deep south are planning a pilgrimage to Camberley, so, with thanks to Stephanie, here is some information about forthcoming roadworks:
“Delays Possible on A325 Frimley By-Pass Frimley – Traffic Light Improvements
“Roadworks are due to start Monday 24th Feb and run for three weeks. The works are to carry out traffic light and pedestrian improvements and will involve lane closures whilst being undertaken.”
“We are advised that sometimes plans have to change, often due to bad weather or problems on other works in the same programme which can have a knock on effect.”
As Stephanie says, “it sounds like a recipe for traffic chaos”!
You’ll know that there’s been much discussion about the near-deserted road works in the High Street. You probably also know that the borough council wrote yesterday: “The High Street section was unfortunately disrupted on 22 January 2020 due to the discovery that the existing gas and water mains are not in the positions that the pre-work checks with the companies had identified. This has led to problems with the positioning of the tree pits and the alignment of the road surface”
Now, we’re not a civil engineer. But we do know that it’s not unusual for underground utilities to take a different route from that shown on the ‘official’ plans. We trust that the design of the High Street makeover was based on something more robust than a few dubious drawings. (Who pays the bill if unexpected extra work is required?)
But the title of this item – ‘regeneration slipping a bit’ – doesn’t simply refer to the High Street delay. It also applies to the poster in the notice board shown in our photo. The sagging, damp, poster doesn’t really Inspire us. The sad thing is that we took this photo over a week ago, and nothing had changed yesterday. Yet the notice board is slap bang next to the council offices. Surely someone could have replaced the poster and given it a decent burial? At the moment, it does more harm than good.
Someone complained to us recently that the car wash in the Atrium was parking cleaned cars in all the ‘blue badge’ bays. So we wandered along during the week to have a look (we don’t use the Atrium car park ourselves). All was ok at that time, but we did get distracted by the sign on the approach to the exit barriers. Where IS the ‘Emergency Pay Area? We couldn’t see one. (The emergency pay area is mentioned in the brown notice fixed to the roof. Sorry that it’s a bit hard to read.)
It’s just as well that we weren’t trying to drive out of the car park and had forgotten to pay. We’d have been stuck!
This morning we showed a photo of the Obelisk – we hadn’t realised before that it was visible from where we stood – and asked where we were standing.
The answer, with hindsight, is obvious. We we were looking across Knoll Road, past the side of the council offices. No doubt when the trees are in leaf, the Obelisk can’t be seen from there.
We’ve seen – and visited – the Obelisk many times. But the other day we saw it from an unexpected (but perhaps obvious) place. A familiar location – but one from which we’ve never seen the Obelisk before. Where were we standing when we took this photo?
Our first picture is of the new sports centre being built to replace the old Arena in the London Road Recreation Ground. It’s coming on nicely.
It’s sobering, though, to recall that replacing Arena was a key priority in the council’s 2006 Corporate Plan. The target then was to “Develop a replacement strategy for the Arena within the Camberley area by April 2008”.
We know that others have already remarked on the apparent lack of workers on the High Street/Princess Way site. They’ve suggested that this is why the makeover will take a year or more. With this in mind, we’ve taken a few photos:
Surprisingly, although the project can seem quite deserted, it is obviously making progress. A few machines and a few people is all it takes.
You may have noticed an all-pervading smell of sewage around the north end of Park Street. There’s obviously something wrong – as our photo of an overflowing inspection cover outside Carsons confirms. Yesterday we spotted a drain cleaning company at work further down the road; but it was so far down the road that we’re not sure that there’s just one problem. Maybe it’s two.
Be a bit careful if you have a toddler walking around near there. It isn’t nice!
When we took this photo a couple of days ago, the narrow walkway along Knoll Walk had just been closed – we suspect for the ‘duration’. (You can just about see someone who, unfortunately, had attempted to negotiate the walkway, got halfway along it, and then discovered that it was impassable.)
You’ll remember that last summer it was revealed that the Chief Executive – currently on Extended Leave – had been granted a significant, and controversial, pay increase.
The damning evidence was the Draft Financial Statement covering the council’s previous financial year. The accounts had been signed off by Kelvin Menon, the Executive Head of Finance, who wrote: “I certify that the Statement of Accounts presents a true and fair view of the financial position of the Authority at 31st March 2019 and of its income and expenditure for the year then ended.” (The Chairman of the Audit and Standards Committee, Cllr Alan McClafferty – now the council Leader – also confirmed: “In accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, I certify that the Statement of Accounts was approved by the Committee on 22nd July 2019.”)
In Auigust, we wrote to the Executive Head of Finance, who, as he had signed off the accounts, presumably was familiar with the numbers underpinning them, and asked: “Are you able to let me know the rationale behind the increase?” We later reminded him of this enquiry, but, as we reported here in January, we could never find an answer.
Fast forward to tomorrow. A confidential meeting of the council will consider: “Appointment of Executive Head of Finance” It seems that Kelvin Menon is no longer secure in the post. More than that we do not know. But are you thinking what we are thinking??
Oh, and a subsequent confidential meeting tomorrow will consider an “Update on HR Matter”. Whatever that signifies.
The really frustrating thing is that WE have to suffer the consequences of ‘inefficiencies’ in the council, and WE have to pay the bill. Yet we’re kept totally in the dark.