Razing the roof…

No, we didn’t mean ‘raising’!  We were referring to the roof on the former Job Centre;  it’s being removed so that the building can be converted into flats.


Too many words about scaffolding!

We’ve failed to mention the scaffolding that’s been outside Cancer Research UK in the High Street for a while.  It looks as if the roof tiles are receiving attention.

We’ve also failed to mention that the scaffolding that’s was outside the former Harwood’s opticians at the top of the High Street has been removed.

In fact, the building has been modified substantially.  You can see the new top floor in the photo above, and a new extension at the rear of the site has replaced a number of much smaller extensions.

There’s more!  Our next photo shows the former Kitchen Kapers shop within minutes of the installation in front of it being dismantled.

And, finally, our pet hate – the former Stacks shop.  We reckon that the official authorisation for the scaffolding on the pavement must have expired around a year ago.  The only good news is that heavy steelwork was delivered at the back of the site a little while ago, and someone in a hi-vis jacket has been spotted working there recently.  Just maybe we won’t have to put up with the obstruction and eyesore for very much longer.

(We ‘wonder’ whether the advertising banners that were on the scaffolding not long ago had been granted planning permission.)

We do have a bit more to say about scaffolding.  There’s a substantial ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ installation being erected at present somewhere in the town.  You may have seen it already, but we’ll be posting about it very soon.  We’ve taken a photograph in anticipation….


House of Fraser – three announcements

We’re reproducing three announcements here.  The first is a notice that has been stuck on the entrances to Camberley’s House of Fraser.  (Apologies, but the reflections and poor quality of the photo were unavoidable.)

Surprisingly, the notice makes no explicit reference to the impact of the closure on the staff and businesses affected.  It also strikes us that the stated reason for closure is HoF’s ‘inflexible property portfolio’ rather than any competition from the internet.  Maybe these are two ways of saying the same thing?  Finally, we would have expected a lot of thought to go into the communication, yet it appears that no-one proof read it and spotted that that one paragraph was repeated, word-for-word.

Our second announcement is the one published on the borough council’s website.  It’s comforting to see concern for people mentioned, though it does come rather late in the text.  However, it’s not comforting to read the final paragraph, with two significant errors.  The RMA is NOT opposite the London Road Block (we presume that this is the area of the A30 referred to).  The RMA proper is roughly opposite the Frimley Road, and its main entrance is to the west of Park Street.  (This is not the first time that the council has shown confusion about its vision for the area.)  Finally, we don’t think there’s anywhere in the town called “Princess Walk” – mentioned in the final sentence.  Should senior council personnel should get out more and understand our town?

Or, perhaps we’re being unkind.  These errors are only details, obviously.  Perhaps senior people needn’t care about accuracy.

Our third announcement is more of a quotation.  The Eye actually knows Cirencester fairly well, so we have been following the fate of the House of Fraser there too.  We’ve just encountered this statement:

That’s how to do it.  Put people first.  Keep it simple.



We wouldn’t do it yet!

We’re not going to report blow-by-blow about the redevelopment of Ashwood House.  But maybe we should show this photo of the demolition of the ramp leading to the third floor of the building.  It proves that work really has started.

However, thinking about it, the ramp provides the easiest vehicle exit from the upper floors of the building (if push came to shove, it could provide access too).  So, superficially, it seems strange to be removing the ramp now.  We’d have hung on to it so that it could be used in later stages of the redevelopment.  Still, we’re not doing the work; no doubt we’re missing some vital information.

Working Men’s Club/Central Bar. Going, going…

It’s about eighteen months since we publicised that the former Working Men’s Club/Central Bar building in Obelisk Way was the subject of planning permission for “…the erection of a four storey building comprising Use Class A1-A5 on the ground floor and 16 residential units (Use Class C) on the three upper floors (with access, layout and scale to be considered and appearance and landscaping being reserved matters) following the demolition of existing buildings.”

Since then, the building has been boarded up, but nothing much else seems to have happened.  Until now, when a hoarding has appeared around the site.

And, eventually, this is what we’ll see:

(Elsewhere, we’ve been discussing this development recently.  We’ve now checked what we said then, and can confirm that there will be ‘nil on-site parking provision’)

We’re struggling. But don’t blame the messenger.

The borough council has just published a consultation ‘look-ahead’ for the borough up to 2032.  The document is – or should be – key in shaping the future of where we live, so we must mention it here.  But we doubt that many readers will study the full text closely.  (Even the Eye will have to battle to keep its eyelid open.)  Which is very regrettable.

Let’s just quote the beginning of the document here:

“1 Introduction

“1.1 The Surrey Heath Local Plan will guide the location, scale and type of future development in Surrey Heath up to 2032. This includes the provision of new housing, retaining existing employment and retail uses and provision of green spaces. The Local Plan will also provide detailed development management policies. These policies will be used in determining planning applications.

“1.2 The Surrey Heath Local Plan, once adopted, will replace the Council’s current adopted Local Plan which is the Core Strategy and Development Management Policies document, including saved policies from the 2000 Local Plan and the Camberley Town Centre Area Action Plan.”

You are familiar with the saved policies from the 2000 Local Plan, aren’t you?

Now, we have some sympathy with the council.  It would, rightly, be criticised if it didn’t cover ‘everything’.  On the other hand, the best place to hide a leaf is in a forest, so an all-embracing document can contain all sorts of mischief.  Which means that we think the approach that the council has taken is totally wrong for a public consultation.  The contents of the document should have been released in digestible sections over a period of time.  After all, there’s no urgency to reach 2032, is there.

Anyway, what you’ll be wanting to know is that the main relevant council webpage is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/consult.ti/LPIO2018/  The main 140 page document is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36988421.1/PDF/-/Final_Draft_of_Issues_and_Options_Reg_18_Plan.pdf  The 120 page sustainability assessment (et al) is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36213029.1/PDF/-/SASEA_Report_IOPA_2017_final_draft.pdf  The first part (100+ pages) of the appendices to the sustainability assessment is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36213189.1/PDF/-/SASEA_Report_IOPA_2018__Appendices_AJ_Final.pdf And the remaining ~70 pages of appendices is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36214437.1/PDF/-/SASEA_Report_IOPA_2018__Appendices_K_Final.pdf

(Apologies, Facebook readers.  There’s no guarantee that those five links will carry over successfully from WordPress.  We’ll do our best to sort things out if that happens.)

But we’ve not finished.  A fundamental question is whether the Local Plan will actually be implemented!  We’ll help our readers to make up their own minds.  Some years ago, we extracted items from the Local Plan 2000 that were particularly relevant to the Eye.  We turned them into a scruffy document; if you click HERE you’ll see it.  Read and decide for yourself how much of that ‘eighteen year old’ document has actually been carried out.  It’s depressing.

Two shops.

Firstly, we’ve now been sent a photo of the notice in Laura Ashley’s door.  It confirms that the shop is closing.  It’ll be missed.

Secondly, we really ought to check, but our memory tells us that planning permission was granted quite a while ago for a new shop on the site behind this hoarding outside the Atrium.  But nothing seems to have happened.  Is it just routine delay, or are the forecasts for retail generally causing second thoughts?

Martial arts out – more flats in

If the borough council agrees, the Precision Martial Arts premises in Park Street is likely to be turned into flats.  A planning application has been submitted for the: “Change of Use of first floor from D2 (Martial Arts Studio) and A1 (Ancillary Retail Storage) to C3 (Residential) to form 3 one bedroom flats and 1 studio flat with cycle and bin storage and associated alterations.”

UPDATE.  We’re hearing disturbing things about Laura Ashley, the shop almost directly the other side of Park Street.  We’ll not be in Camberley for a day or so, but can someone update us?  Is LA closing?

You did remember the screwdriver, didn’t you?

We took these two photos a few days ago when it was obvious that work was underway on the sign that’s over the Atrium’s exit (we think we’re showing the exit rather than the entrance!)

We couldn’t linger to see whether work would also be carried out on the Atrium’s sign on the corner opposite Obelisk Way.  However, Paul has settled this by sending the final photo here, which must have been taken a little later than ours.  Yes, the hydraulic high-lift platform has moved along the road and – we assume – is enabling long-overdue repairs.