Chipping away at the fitting-out

We had a sneaky look inside the fish and chip shop opening in the High Street yesterday.  We guess that it could be up and running in a few weeks’ time.

 

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Vandalism in Main Square car park?

The wire mesh beside the stairs in one of the stairwells in Main Square car park is badly damaged.  The only likely cause that we can think of is vandalism.  If we’re right, it’s a frustrating situation;  tax payers will have to foot the bill for the pointless act.

(The stairwell is the one that’s little-used at the moment because it leads to the closed walkway between the car park and Ashwood House.)

Burger King: preparing for the next tenant (but there’s a ‘but’)

It’s pretty obvious from the noise that been coming from the former Burger King in the High Street that work is going on inside.  So, we sneaked around the back and asked what was happening.  The answer?  We were told that all the old fittings are being stripped out to prepare for a new tenant.  BUT, we were also told that no new tenant has yet signed on the dotted line.  In which case, the shop seems likely to remain empty for a while;

‘The Economist’ – should it have asked the Eye?

We all know about ‘fake news’ on the internet.  But we do tend to rely on information from trusted sources.  So it’s a bit disturbing to read the two seemingly-conflicting statements that appeared a few days ago from presumably-reliable organisations.

The first is a news item published by our very own council.  It said: “Ashwood House, a former office block on Pembroke Broadway in Camberley will be transformed into 116 luxury apartments by Berkeley Homes who will start work later this year.”  Note, ‘Ashwood House…work will start later this year’.

The second item is an extract from an article titled ‘As shoppers go on line, high streets reinvent themselves’, which was published by ‘The Economist’.  Here it is:

Note, ‘Ashwood House… has just been finished’.  Oh dear.  ‘The Economist’ appears to have got that very wrong.  And we’re not sure about the ‘700 new houses and flats’ in the town centre either.  That’s considerably more than we can identify.  We don’t know WHY ‘The Economist’ seems to have published some muddled ‘facts’, but we’ll read it with more caution from now on.

A new tenant on the A30 service road?

We were pleased to see redecoration going on inside this empty shop on the A30 service road.  It’s spent much of the last few years without a regular occupant.  Indeed, you can just about make out the name of its last permanent retailer – the Thread Emporium – on the sign above the window.  But the Thread Emporium, after moving to elsewhere in Camberley, closed quite a long time ago.

Draft Local Plan in four photos

You may have found out that, for a couple of weeks, there are two ‘static displays’ in the borough highlighting the draft Local Plan.  One display is in the former museum in the council offices, so we hot-footed there on Monday – its first public day.  We took photos of the panels on display which we’re showing here.  (We might be wrong, but we don’t think that the panels can be viewed on the council’s website.  Which is a shame, because it might save a lot of shoe leather.)

Apologies, but you’ll probably have to click on the four panels – viewing them individually – to be able to read them on a small screen.  They contain quite a lot of small text.

We remain critical of the draft, as we think it is totally unsuitable as a public consultation document.  Much of its content may be necessary to meet regulatory requirements (we’re being kind here), but we would consign much of the background detail to Annexes so that the lay reader can easily find what is relevant and important to them.  As has been so often the case in the past, we feel that the document would also have benefitted if it had been submitted to a few residents as a pilot exercise before being released.  That way, flaws could easily be eliminated.  We actually get no further than the first question in the consultation: “”Do you agree with the preferred approach to the Vision and Objectives?”  We could understand the question if it asked about the ‘preferred Vision and Objectives’.  But a PREFERRED APPROACH to a Vision and Objectives – what on earth does that mean?  Almost certainly, the council is so familiar with its own jargon that it doesn’t realise that, to ordinary people, it’s a nonsense.

It’s also distressing to realise that the draft has been approved by the council’s Executive Committee.  Did they think about the general readership – the electorate – when they did this?  Did they think about the document’s suitability for some of our less-advantaged residents?  What happened to inclusivity?  (As always, it would be easier to shrug our shoulders and say nothing when we think something should have been handled better.  Being critical doesn’t make friends.  On the other hand, saying nothing encourages the same poor performance next time.)

 

The highest scaffolding in the town?

You may remember our recent obsession with scaffolding – when we promised to show one more scaffolding ‘high-light’?  Well, we received a phone call a few weeks ago (thank you, CN) telling us that St Michael’s Church on the A30 was going to have extensive work carried out, including the installation of new bells.  And a few days ago we took a photo of the scaffolding while it was being erected.

This is what we saw.  We might be wrong, but we think it’s the highest scaffolding in Camberley.  (We’re excluding anything to do with the Old Dean mast.  That’s not a building so it doesn’t count!)