A new shop in the town….

It’s not often that we can report the prospect of a new shop being built in the town.  But we’ve seen a proposal to put a ‘retail unit’ in that patch of boarded-off land opposite Starbucks.  We’ve always thought that the site, which seems to be used largely as a bin store, was crying out for improvement;  maybe that’s what we’ll see before too long.

 

Changing times – and name, and colour

We were looking at the boards displaying the Mall’s opening hours the other day, and we recalled the previous version before the Mall was bought by the borough council.  (We’re showing the old and – below it – the new board here.)

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A couple of things strike us.  Firstly, weekday closing times are now half an hour later than they used to be.  Do shop staff have to work longer hours now?  Secondly, though we understand why the distinctive pink colour used by the previous owners had to be removed, the substitution of the word ‘Shop’ for ‘Mall’ at the top of the board isn’t ideal.  As the bottom of the board makes clear, different shops may actually be open at different times.  (More than a couple of years ago we pointed out that Sainsbury’s was actually open from 7:30am to 8:00pm.)  We can only guess that the word ‘Mall’ was deemed to be inappropriate because of its association with the former owner – and that the simple alternative of ‘Shopping Centre’ was felt to be too mundane!  How will the new branding meet the challenge, we wonder!

 

And the wind it blew and blew..

The wind it blew so hard that it blew the hoarding in two..

There was a gap in the hoarding around the waste ground near the level crossing yesterday.  Almost certainly the gap was caused by the wind.  We took the opportunity to poke a camera through the opening, and the thought struck us that this would be a good location for a ‘green gateway’ to the town.  What hopes, though?

There’s still virtually no evidence that work is underway on the building.  Something’s wrong?

The council’s wheels grind too slowly..

Recently we came across a letter from the borough council dated November 2006.  It said that the council had recently begun preparing a Town Centre Area Action Plan.  Filed with the letter was this photo – taken in 2012 – which, unless we’re mistaken, shows an exhibition in the Mall, telling residents about the progress of the Plan.

Now, it’s over a decade since the Plan started to take shape, and just over five years since that photo was taken.  But it’s a challenge to think of much that has happened in the town as a result.  Or are we wrong?

(If a plan progresses too slowly, it becomes out-of-date before the ink is dry.  For example, the Plan states the following targets: “Within the short term (Years 2012-2016) the enlargement and adaptation of existing units in Main Square (The Mall) will continue, a scheme for environmental improvements to the High Street will be agreed, a scheme for London Road Block Opportunity Area will be agreed.”  In 2017, two of those targets have yet to be achieved, and the third has made only modest progress.)

Goodbye Hallowood

Some while back, we showed a photograph of a notice in the Hallowood furniture shop saying that it would be closing down.  We weren’t entirely convinced – we’re pretty sure that a Hallowood store that we know elsewhere announced that it was closing down, but it’s still open.  However, no such luck with the Camberley branch; it’s now just a memory.