Camberley views No.2: London Road shop frontages between High Street and Park Street

Here’s another view of Camberley. This time it’s the run of shops on the London Road between the High Street and Park Street. It’s an unloved part of Camberley, referred to as the London Road Development by Surrey Heath Borough Council.

Below is an artists impression of the proposal, and below that are my photos of the existing shop frontages. They are a sorry sight to behold. The council, in their March 2020 update, say,

The development will take place in three phases and is likely to take approximately eight to ten years to complete. Due to the complexity of developing a planning application for a scheme of this scale and ambition, the development is at least two years away from the start of demolition and construction work for Phase 1. Until then, the area is very much open for business!

There are lots of fantastic, varied independent businesses currently situated in the London Road site including cool bars and restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons, dry-cleaner’s and specialist shops – please continue to visit and support them.

SHBC’s Economic and Development team are providing ongoing support to these businesses to help them find new premises within Camberley or the borough depending on each of the business’ requirements.

I wonder how successful the Council will be in protecting the businesses. Way back, wasn’t there a record store, a second hand book shop, and a golf shop. Is the Angling shop still open, I don’t know. I’d be mightily surprised if Kier, the developers, will be submitting plans any time soon.

 

Camberley views No.1: High Street revamp

The revamping Camberley’s High Street is a definite plus for it’s town centre. Issues around the services hidden in the street have hampered progress. I’m understanding that this is delaying the revamp. The published public works plan, see below, shows the that the area designated as High Street north was due for completion by the end of Qtr 2. Given the hidden services and possible coronavirus issues, the current state of the works shows that this projected date will be missed.

I’d be surprised if the works are completed before the end of the third quarter. I visited the works last Sunday afternoon, and saw that much work remains to be done. The completed areas of paving and road look impressive. Given the current pristine nature of the paving I’d like to see plenty of litter bins being installed, maybe a joint recylcing/litter bin outside food retailers. From my visit I forsee the new paving having to be dug up for the proposed trees, cycle racks and lighting. I’m not at all impressed by this lack of forethought. I worry about cars that will likely mount the footpath, and that discarded chewing gun will mar the paving. Methinks the street will  probably need continual marshalling.

Anyway, below the project plan below are my photos of the current state of the works, and at the end an image of the proposed Hight Street revamp.

A recurring water leak in Guildford Road

The junction of Lighwater Road and Guildford Road in Lightwater is the subject of recurring water leaks. Our recent days of wet weather has masked the current water leak, which emenates from the middle of the junction next to the mini roundabout.

I’ve a photo, taken yesterday, of the latest leak [see below], which I’ll be reporting to the water company – Thames Water or Affinity Water. I’m not sure whom is responsible.

Here’s my photo evidence of leaks over recent years. The water main was replaced in 2014, so it’s a surprise that this spot on the road continues to need repair. I feel sure that there have been other instances of water leaks here that I’ve not been aware of.

UPDATE: Oops, got my photos wrongly anotated, corrected now.

Small change in Bagshot leaves a good impression

I drove through Bagshot last week, and couldn’t fail to notice the changes to the village square.

Simply had to go back and visit the square to view the changes, and in doing so the changes gained my admiration. Gone are the untidy parked cars. Now it’s a flexible public space. I haven’t got a comparable photo of the square before the change, the one I’ve posted below is the nearest I’ve got.

Wouldn’t it be great if other Surrey Heath villages had such improvements to their village centres to improve their ambience. I don’t imagine that the budget for this work would be very big.

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.

Continue reading

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.