Camberley town centre improvements – September 2019 update

Surrey Heath Borough Council announcedon 3rd September 2019 an update on Camberley town centre improvements. This full press release can be seen HERE. This is the main part of the press release.

The High Street, Princess Way and Knoll Walk have received £3.5million in funding from Enterprise M3 LEP, which has been increased with £900k of funding from Surrey Heath Borough Council, to improve the roads and pavements in these historic areas.

Once completed The High Street, Knoll Walk and Princess Way will be transformed into attractive, bright areas with new paving, road surfaces, lighting, planting – including trees, bicycle racks and public art.

The areas will have improved accessibility for everyone including those with disabilities. Vehicles will still have access to the High Street, but traffic calming will ensure the road is safer for pedestrians.  Parking on this road will also be reduced so pavement size can be increased.

The new materials used for the road and pavement surfaces will greatly improve the pedestrian experience.  New street lighting and public art will enhance the character of this road and give a feeling of place and Camberley’s heritage. You can read more about what will be happening here.

It is anticipated the works will start in October 2019 and will complete in 2020. The works will be phased and we will share regular updates as the project progresses.

In preparation for the works the remaining tree on Knoll Walk will be removed the week commencing 23 September.  Knoll Walk will be closed whilst this work takes place. This tree was not removed earlier this year as a Magpie nest was located on the tree.  New trees will be planted in Knoll Walk and also along The High Street as part of the new scheme.

Lightwater Country Park gets its first Green Flag Award

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce double celebrations as Lightwater Country Park achieves its first Green Flag Award, and Frimley Lodge Park its 19th.

Lightwater Country Park has been recognised by the Green Flag Award scheme as one of the best in the country. It’s the first time the 59-hectare park in Surrey Heath has been awarded this international mark of quality.

And it was a day of double celebrations in Surrey Heath as Frimley Lodge Park received a Green Flag Award too – for an amazing 19th time.

The parks are among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces, and 131 in thirteen other countries around the world, that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

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Another case of Hutber’s Law -‘Improvment means deterioration’

Patrick Hutber, one time, and still missed, City Editor of the Daily Telegraph, wisely coined a law that suggested improvement often hides deterioration.

Here’s example of the law, and a local one to boot.

I’ve written much about the changes to Knoll Walk in Camberley – see HERE if you’d like to read them. I came to the conclusion that opening up the walk wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined, and that one fine tree had been saved – possibly a stay of execution more probably.

When we visited CAMFEST last week I took this photo of the walk, for the reason that I’d seen two women sitting on the wooden planks surrounding the tree.

The changes to Knoll Walk removed all the seating, which were always well used. Therefore, I consider that the changes to Knoll Walk by Surrey Heath Borough Council has resulted in an example of Hutber’s Law – ‘Improvement means deterioration’.

If you look carefully at the photo you’ll spot two women sitting uncomfortably on the wooden surround to the tree.

There are no places to sit outside in Camberley High Street. Therefore, Knoll Walk needs its public seating returned.

London Road Recreation Ground changes rescinded

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce a Joint Statement with Places Leisure: Green Space Preserved at Camberley’s New Leisure Centre

Camberley’s brand-new leisure centre’s planning proposal will be revised following feedback from local residents and consultation on the planning and car park provision.

The original planning application included car parking provision within a small section of the adjacent recreational ground. This proposal provided the most cost-effective solution, however following the feedback received, Surrey Heath Borough Council and operator Places Leisure have been working together to identify alternative and affordable solutions, that enable the green space to be retained.

Karen Whelan, Chief Executive at Surrey Heath Borough Council commented, “The Council Officers have listened to residents and Councillors and together with Places Leisure have worked hard to find alternative ways to deliver the car parking arrangements for the proposed new leisure centre. The ability to work effectively in partnership is a key strength to the relationship with Places Leisure and I’d like to thank all those that have worked so tirelessly to reach such a positive outcome for the residents of Surrey Heath.”

A revised planning proposal will be brought forward which will include the provision of a brand-new multi-storey car park, situated in the existing leisure centre car park. Councillor Richard Brooks, Leader of the Council said,

“The development of a new leisure centre is part of the Council’s long-term strategy for health and wellbeing, but delivery of a new facility had to be affordable for the Council. I’m delighted that a new proposal to deliver the required car parking will be coming forward enabling us to preserve green space in the town centre whilst ensuring the scheme is financially viable. I’d like to add my thanks to Councillor McClafferty and Councillor Dougan,  my Executive team and the Officers who have worked extremely hard to find an alternative solution.”

A spokesperson for Places Leisure added, “We are pleased to have supported the Council in identifying alternative provision that enables the space to be retained. Together with Surrey Heath Borough Council we are excited to bring to the local community a vibrant new leisure offering and deliver a modern and sustainable facility that can be enjoyed by all.”

Register your objection to London Road Recreation Ground changes

It appears that Surrey Heath Borough Council intention is to increase car parking provision at the redeveloped Arena Leisure Centre in Camberley at the expense of London Road Recreation Ground. See Council Notice below.

There’s an action group dedicated to reversing this proposal, which you can see at the Facebook page London Road Recreation Ground – Park in Peril.

I learned, when involved in arguing similar case with Lightwater Leisure Centre, that car parking provision is a key aspect in the success of a leisure centre facility. So this will be a hard fought battle. To object to the loss of green space in the Recreation Ground, write to the address in the notice below, or email daniel.harrison@surreyheath.go.uk.

Time is short to get in your objection, it must reach the Council by June 20th.

Council’s works update on Camberley High, Knoll Walk, and Princess Walk

Surrey Heath Borough Council have released an update on regeneration works in Camberley High Street, Knoll Walk and Princess Walk..

Camberley town centre is currently undergoing several regeneration projects led by Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC).

The High Street has received £3.5million in funding from Enterprise M3 LEP which has been increased with £900k of funding from SHBC to improve the roads and pavements in these historic areas.

The new materials used for the road and pavement surfaces will greatly improve the pedestrian experience. New street lighting and public art will enhance the character of this road and give a feeling of place and Camberley’s heritage.

Knoll Road and Princess Walk will be transformed into attractive versatile areas to sit, relax and enjoy with family and friends.

Planning permission has been granted to remove the canopies on Princess Way to further open up this space.  This work will take place later this summer.

The preparatory works have now completed on Knoll Walk and it will remain open until the main works start later this summer. The remaining tree on Knoll Walk will remain in place until the end of the nesting season as an active Magpie nest was identified in the tree. New trees will be planted in Knoll Walk and also along the High Street as part of the new scheme.

The Council is currently out to tender for the High Street works. We expect to announce the contractor by the end of July 2019.

Camberley Be Inspired: Surrey Heath Borough Council is committed to supporting and regenerating Camberley town centre.  SHBC’s investments have already seen the acquisition of The Square shopping centre, commencing its refurbishment programme within the first year of ownership.  Followed by an ambitious set of projects to improve the roads, pavements and street scene.  A redundant office building has also been purchased to create 116 high quality town centre apartments, with proposals to re-deliver new commercial space.

SHBC has selected Kier Property as the development partner for the London Road site.  Situated fronting the London Road, opposite the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the 5.5-acre site has the potential to create a mixed-use development and improve the gateway to Camberley.

The regeneration work is supported by a comprehensive events programme, grant schemes for independent businesses and cultural and enrichment projects to ensure Camberley is a key destination and experience.  In Camberley we are committed to reshaping and enhancing the town centre to support our community and local businesses while high street retail faces challenges nationally.  www.camberleybeinspired.com.  

Knoll Walk in Camberley to be closed for 18 months

I’ve written about the changes to Knoll Walk in Camberley. It’s the path, begining near Camberley Theatre, from Knoll Road to the High Street by Barclays Bank.

I noted that Surrey Heath Borough Council intended to remove trees and flower beds from the walk, which they’ve subsequently done, pleasingly, leaving one large evergreen tree next to Barclays Bank. I wondered what the result might be after the change. I admit to being surprised that it’s now a good wide path, without the flower beds, trees, and shrubs.

There’s a notice on a post in the walk, see photo below, that says the entire walk will be closed to pedestrians for 18 months while construction work takes place associated with ‘The Camberley Public Realm Scheme‘, and a description of the works HERE.

I viewed the Public Realm Scheme details on the Council’s website, from which I learned little about this work. Maybe I missed the details on how much work is involved that takes 18 months. Here are the photos I took a few days ago of the state of the walk.