Developer short list for Camberley’s London Road site

Surrey Heath Borough Council has announced that,

Camberley Town Centre is currently undergoing an exciting regeneration programme led by Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC).

A significant stage of regenerating Camberley is investing in and improving the area along London Road (A30) between the High Street and Park Street and opposite the historic Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

SHBC is now in the process of appointing an experienced regeneration developer with the resources and vision to deliver a comprehensive and transformational development of the 2.0 ha (5.5 acres) site.

We are very pleased to announce today (9 July 2018) that we have shortlisted four companies who will be put through to the next stage of selection. These are; Countryside, Keir Group, Hub Group, and Berkeley Group.

Karen Whelan, CEO, SHBC said: “SHBC are delighted with the outstanding response to the first stage of tendering for our flagship development in Camberley, which is testament to the drive and determination of Officers and Members to deliver high quality partners.

Our vision for Camberley is dynamic and innovative and our shortlisted developers can bring the same qualities to the project.  We look forward to hearing more about their vision for the site, with our final decision being made around Christmas 2018.”

Cllr Moira Gibson, Leader, SHBC said: “Developing this area has been a key long-term objective for the Council.  The site occupies a substantial part of the town centre and the development, once complete, will totally transform and regenerate this area. It is a great result for the council to have secured four impressive developers to take forward to the next stage of procurement.”

It is envisaged that the new development on London Road will include a combination of housing, retail and car parking. Bidders are also being asked to include new office space within their bid which could unlock other sites in the town centre for redevelopment.

To date SHBC has invested £140 million into Camberley; which includes the acquisition and subsequent refurbishment of The Square shopping centre, acquisition of Ashwood House a former office building which is currently being redeveloped into 116 high quality residential apartments.   Substantial projects to improve the town centre car parks, Princess Way and the High Street are also in the pipeline.  Find out more here.

Camberley High Street improvement at design stage

Surrey Heath Borough Council [SHBC] has announced that,

SHBC has appointed Project Centre to design and deliver the Camberley High Street and surrounding public spaces improvements.

Project Centre is a leading streetscape design, engineering and landscape architecture consultancy.

Kevin Donnelly, Technical Director at Project Centre said; “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to design and deliver the Camberley High Street improvements for Surrey Heath Borough Council.

The scheme will focus on making the High Street and surrounding areas better for pedestrians and encourage more people to shop locally in the area. High quality urban design and place making will transform the public space; improving access and movement for pedestrians and reducing the dominance of cars on the High Street. Public art will also be integrated into the High Street transformation.”

The three areas for improvement proposed are:

  • High Street – Improvements include increasing the amount of space available to pedestrians, creating an important hub that can be used for a variety of public events and uses and decluttering the high street
  • Princess Way – improvements will include better lighting and street furniture
  • Knoll Walk – to look at how space can be used feasibly for activities such as for market stalls, improvements to street furniture and improved green and soft landscaping

Project Centre will see the project through from preliminary design through to construction with the contract starting in June.

Cllr Moira Gibson, Leader, SHBC said: “This key milestone of the appointment of the designer for the High Street ensures this project is running to schedule.  The works will start spring 2019 and we aim to complete by the end of 2020.  The resulting changes will retain the unique architecture of the existing High Street but with an improved pedestrian experience. We are committed to supporting the unique and independent businesses on the High Street and attracting new businesses to Camberley.”

Karen Whelan, CEO, SHBC said: “Project Centre will be undertaking a very important regeneration project in a landmark area in Camberley.  The resulting redeveloped and improved High Street will be a wonderful asset to Camberley and will completely transform this part of the town.”

SHBC secured £3.5 million in funding from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in 2017 to enable this improvement project for the High Street.  SHBC has added funds of £900k bringing the total budget to £4.4 million.

Kevin Travers, Head of Transport of the Enterprise M3 LEP said: “We are delighted to be supporting this project, which underpins our plans for economic growth and better quality of life in the Blackwater Valley. These improvements to Camberley Town Centre will help meet the wider challenges and objectives identified in our Strategic Economic Plan by promoting town centre renewal to secure inward investment and create vibrant communities.”

Surrey Heath draft Local Plan frequently asked questions

I’ve written about Surrey Heath Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan, and how the consultation period on it expires on Monday 30th July 2018.

The draft local plan contains proposed planning policy changes from the current local. It’s therefore, in my estimation, important for ideas and concerns from residents to be submitted.

Yesterday evening I attended the consultation event at Lightwater Leisure Centre, at which there were paper copies of the draft plan for perusal, and planning officers on hand to answer questions. I recommend those of you interested in influencing planning policies, and how they affect our communities, get involved in the consultation process. I’ll post my comments on particular aspects in the coming weeks.

I picked up the Frequently Asked Questions leaflet about the local plan consultation, which is shown below – front and back page first, and inside pages next. Click on images to expand.

Preferred fuel supply pipeline corridor announced

In today’s post came a leaflet from the Southampton to London Pipeline Project – – announcing the preferred corridor.

The result of the consultation on the preferred pipeline corridor, as it affects us in Surrey Heath, is corridor option J, which follows the existing pipeline route. It’s just as I expected. It was unlikely that they’d move from the existing route to pass over military ranges.

Below is a screen grab from the interactive map showing, in blue, the route of the preferred corridor, which is also the route of the exiting pipeline. Have a play with the interactive map, it’s fun. The red route is the de-selected corridor. Below the screen grab is a copy of the leaflet.

Of the eight working transporter bridges, three are in the UK

Like many of us I’ve a fondness for oddities. Our country is packed with them. I’ll nor attempt to provide a list, as I’m sure you’ll be able to recall some that, in your experience, have surprised, and amused.

One of these oddities is Transporter bridges which were popular at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. Of the sixteeen built between 1893 and 1916, only eight remain, and of this eight three are in the UK. This type of bridge was built to cross rivers where the approach roads were low level, and would therefore be impractical to to construct a fixed bridge, and high enough to allow shipping to pass beneath. They are also cheaper to construct than fixed bridges.

Last year we used the Bizkaia Transporter Bridge, not too far north of Bilbao in northern Spain. The bridge provides a crossing of the River Nervión between Portugalete and Las Arenas, part of Getxo. It’s a world heritage site, being the world’s first transporter bridge.

Over the coming days, I’ll write about each one. I’m intending to visit the bridges in the UK, which should be fun.

Here’s the list of the eight working transporter bridges, with the UK ones listed first.

Waterloo railway station building works continue

While in London yesterday, and arriving by train to Waterloo, as is my want I took a photo of the ongoing construction work at the station.

The project, to bring the old international station platforms into use for suburban trains, is due for completion in December 2018. The building works began in 2015, as I far as my photo record shows.

Bringing platforms 20 to 24 into use seems to be more involved than I’d ever imagined. Here are two photos on the work. The one on the left was taken in August 2017, and the one on the right was taken yesterday. You’ll notice that platforms 20-24 were fully operation last year, and not now. Beneath the photos is an artist impression, taken from THIS website, of the final appearance of that part of the station.

I have to say I’m unclear as to why people at shown at the lower level, when the platforms are above. Perhaps someone will remove my confusion.

Curiosities No.1: The Isle of Grain

We’ve recently had a day exploring the Isle of Grain, the eastern most point on the River Medway in Kent, where we enjoyed a 5 mile coastal walk learning all about it’s historical curiosities. It’s these that I’ll tell you about.

The Isle of Grain is quite an odd place, sort of end of the worldish. While it’s no longer an island, the many creeks and tidal marshes mean it’s almost one. The area has had centuries of defensive fortifications and military activity, much of which have been removed leaving a somewhat ravaged landscape.

On the coastal fringes of the Isle of Grain is the London Thamesport container port, three power stations – Medway, Damhead Creek, and Grain, and two closed power stations which are now almost totally demolished, and a demolished BP oil refinery. Oh, and not forgetting the nationally important LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas] import terminal and storage site, and an electricity interconnector between the Netherlands and the UK.

A remarkable part of the country. For an idle few moments before I begin to describe the curiosities, type Isle of Grain into Google, and click on Maps. Here’s a photo I took of some of the National Grid LNG storage facilities – not exciting I know, but indicative of the landscape of the area.