Some good news. Hays Travel has taken over the former Thomas Cook shop on the corner of the High Street and Princess Way. According to the newspapers, holiday travel is going through a boom; let’s hope that Hays benefits from it. (Many thanks to Nina who reminded us that we’d taken a photo a week ago but had failed to show it – until now!)
The borough council has announced:
“Councillor Richard Brooks and Councillor Charlotte Morley have resigned from their respective positions as Leader and Deputy Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council.
“A new Leader will be elected at an Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 29 January 2020.
“In the interim, the Executive will collectively lead the Council.”
Of course, we have no idea why both councillors resigned. The fact that, back in August, we suggested that the then Leader could be one of the “villains” involved in the Chief Executive’s pay award may be completely irrelevant.
(What we wrote back in August was:
“We’re being a bit premature, perhaps, here. Our current Leader was the deputy of the previous Leader for years. The implication must be that they shared similar views. So, potentially, our criticism of the previous Leader’s attitude applies to the current Leader’s attitude too. Of course, this is tentative, but – and it is a big BUT – we’re not aware that the current Leader has said anything public about the pay award. Unless they speak out soon, we’ll conclude that they do agree with how the award was made.”
We’re still not aware that the now-resigned Leader has said anything public about the pay award.)
Which of these two photos creates an impression of a friendly and welcoming town? They’re taken on landings in the stairwells of Camberley and Basingstoke car parks.
You know, our borough council doesn’t even get the cheap and easy things right.
We spend most of the time staring at our feet. So we’ve noticed a sudden outbreak of yellow dots on the Square’s flooring. Almost certainly the dots mark those floor tiles and inspection covers where repair work is needed. We shall watch with fascination, and we will, of course, report on progress….
Several people have told the Eye that Jack Wills will be closing. Indeed, according to the trade press, Jack Wills shops in “Bournemouth, Camberley, Cheltenham, Soho, Turo [should that be Truro?] and Witney” will also be closing. Bad news for all those involved.
Several people have also kindly told the Eye that the Good Taste Bakery will be closing. In fact, we have been told that it’ll be undergoing a re-fit, with more seating at the back of the shop, so it’ll be back up and running before long, we trust. It’s probably not a bad time to do something like that – footfall in the High Street has probably taken a (temporary, we hope) dip.
Finally – for the moment – the British Shoe Company, just by the High Street entrance to the Square, is apparently also closed for a re-fit.
(Tomorrow, we might write about little yellow dots….)
A couple of sad items. Rachel has told us “Monsoon are due to close up in Camberley on 11th February. According to the staff there, they were only told about it last Friday… They will also be closing the Woking branch” Other on-line forums are reporting much the same thing. For the sake of the staff there, we hope these reports are all wrong… But, by chance, a shopper in one of The Square’s lifts told us that she’d just been in Monsoon and there was so little stock there that she thought it must be closing.
And there’s even less doubt about Headcase Barbers. Depending on where you look on the Internet, you’ll see that it’s ‘Permanently Closed’ or ‘Closed until Further Notice’.
Today’s first picture comes courtesy of Mike. It shows the High Street at night, with the road surface removed. You may just be able to see that the pedestrian crossing half way up the road was closed at the time, making it a long walk to get from the Square to the other side (and vice versa, of course). But our second photo shows that a day later the crossing had been reinstated.
But why the ‘cross’ in our title? Well, we’ve heard from a reliable source that a tradesperson needing to visit a customer via the southern part of the High Street was unable to get past the unmanned barrier of cones blocking the road. They weren’t happy!
We’ll publish more news about retailers tomorrow…
Several retailers are undergoing change in the town at the moment. Mr Emment’s Fruit and Vegetable Emporium is the most obvious of these – the upheaval in Princess Way means that he has moved to just outside the Atrium. Heaven knows why he was smiling in our photo – it was pouring with rain at the time…
We’ll mention some of the other changes over the next few days. But we really ought to show a picture or two of the ‘roadworks’ in the High Street before long, so which should come first? We’ll have to decide soon.
The bollard in the left hand side of our today’s photo, taken near the top of Park Street, has appeared in the Eye’s blog once or twice before. It gets uprooted quite frequently. But the bollard on the right – nicely spotlighted by the low sun – is a newcomer here. It’s quite difficult to see how something could knock into it with enough force to push it sideways. It’s tempting to blame ‘white van man’, but apparently ‘white van men’ have a reasonably good safety record.
If you ever wonder what’s behind the hoarding on the corner of Portesbery Road and Heathcote Road, then here’s the answer. The ‘rack’ on the far side of the area contains scaffolding boards and poles that we think are stored for the construction site on the other side of Portesbery Road. That’s the building site where little seems to have happened for months.