It’s Goo Night from us – but not for too long

If all goes well, the Eye and his prostate will part company in hospital today. (Prostate cancer – a downside of being a man!)

Things being what they are, we’re not going to be dashing around the town centre for a while. But, with a bit of luck, and provided that the lockdown doesn’t last for ever, we’ll be back with thrilling pictures of bollards and scaffolding – and anything else that takes our fancy – before too long.

In the meantime, do stay healthy.

Brought to his knees – and more

As we’ve mentioned Watchmoor Reserve quite recently, we’re showing a couple more photos…

The first photo was taken about twenty years ago. It shows the wooden ploughmen, plough and horse as they were then. (The photo was taken using a 35mm camera – too expensive to take lots of pictures!)

The second photo is much more recent. It’s about eighteen months old, but when we walked that way recently, the poor old horse looked much the same. How much longer can it survive?

Non-compliance with the planning application?

If you consult the county council’s website, you’ll find: “You must not allow water from gutters or down pipes to discharge onto the surface of the highway, either directly or by leakage – closed grids can be used within footways in these circumstances. Gutters and down pipes must be regularly checked and kept in good repair.”

Clearly, Parkgate House – at the top of Park Street – doesn’t meet this requirement. And it hasn’t since it was converted into flats (and it probably didn’t do so before then either). The rainwater downpipe discharges into a gulley that is permanently blocked.

The original planning application for the conversion included the following statement: “It is therefore proposed to ensure the current plot as it stands sufficiently copes with surface water discharge from the site when analysed to the current British Standards.” It might have been ‘proposed’ – but it was never achieved. If anyone from the council walks along the A30 just a little way from the council offices, they’ll see this for themselves. The highway might be the responsibility of the county council; compliance with a planning application is a more-local matter.

Residents have taken action!

Recently we highlighted a muddy pavement caused by cars parking on what should be a grassy verge. Since then, some hefty logs have appeared; fingers crossed that they have an effect.

Sadly, these ‘defences’ don’t protect the muddiest stretch of verge. We mutter evil things about those who park there frequently; we’re not convinced that they have no alternative.

More plans that went nowhere?

We have to apologise for the quality of today’s photo. But our excuse is that it isn’t one of ours! In fact, it’s one that we showed in March 2018 – the red line defines the buildings that would disappear according to a planning application at the time.

In brief, the proposal was to build sixty one one/two bedroom sheltered apartments for older people in a five/six storeys high building. Access to the site would have been via Southwell Park Road – the current access from Park Street would be closed.

From memory, that application was approved. But we’ve just learned that an estate agent opened last autumn in the low building in the middle of the stretch of buildings. No doubt they’re in a good position to have done their homework, and they’ve determined that there’s not going any demolition for a while at least.

(We probably would have noticed sooner, only we don’t get out so much nowadays!)

No relief in sight

Surrey Heath Rotary have said that a suitable project for it could be overhauling the pavillion in the London Road Recreation Ground. We agree. In particular, part of the revamp could/should be upgrading the toilets. When we tested the door of the ‘Gents’ recently, it seemed to be well and truly locked. How can families enjoy a long summer afternoon in the park if there’s no loo?

Sadly, perhaps the biggest challenge would be keeping vandals at bay. We have no easy answer to that – but we’ve never understood vandalism. We’ve not been immune to being a bit ‘mischevious’ ourselves in the past, but wanton destruction is something else.

Frimley Park Hospital to merge…

You may remember that the Eye is ‘staying at home’ during the lockdown. So we’re digging through the records of our involvement with the local civic society. Here’s a copy of the local newspaper (which used to be widely read) in August 2007

The proposed merger was between Frimley Park, St Peter’s (Chertsey), Ashford Hospital and the Royal Surrey (Guildford). Of course, it never happened. That’s the fate of most plans, we suspect.

(Whenever we see diagrams of the way the NHS is organised, we have an overwhelming feeling that it’s all too complicated. However, we were one of those who received their jab at the Lakeside Club yesterday. And we thought that the whole operation was brilliant. Everything ran like clockwork. So maybe we’ll back off a bit from our overwhelming feeling.)

Hidden in plain sight

You will probably have noticed that there’s a small shipping container near to what we still think of as the Ian Goodchild Centre, next to the theatre. You’ll also have seen that it’s been ‘disguised’ by trellis panels, at the base of which are flower troughs. The troughs were meant to be planted with suitable shrubs/creepers to disguise the shipping container even more. But, as any gardener knows, you have to tend to flower pots and troughs or they don’t flourish. As was the case here.

If we remember correctly, the container is a home for equipment taken from Arena before it was demolished. Maybe the new leisure centre will be up and running before the trellis actually supports anything green??

Both our photos show a corner of the neglected pond. As it happens, Surrey Heath Rotary is proposing to refurbish this once-pleasant little area. If you’re interested, have a look at yesterday’s post on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/surreyheathrotary/

Motorway access from the Ravenswood Roundabout

For many months there’s been a gap in the fence between Crawley Hill and the M3 motorway. We guess that it was caused by a vehicle leaving the road – but there’s been very little attempt to repair it.

As a result, as far as we can see, there’s very little to stop wildlife – human or otherwise – from roaming onto the motorway. That could result in something most unfortunate. But whose responsibility is the fence? The county council or the Highways Agency?