House of Fraser in Camberley saved from closure

On 23rd September, Surrey Heath Borough Council announced that,

House of Fraser today announced that its store in Camberley has been saved from closure. The Camberley store, which had previously been earmarked to close under the previous owners, is among a number of House of Fraser stores at which new terms have been agreed with landlords.

Sports Direct are House of Fraser’s new owners and Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) is the landlord of the Camberley House of Fraser.

Karen Whelan, Chief Executive and Cllr Moira Gibson, Leader, SHBC said: “We are firmly committed to a department store remaining part of Camberley’s future.  House of Fraser is very popular with our residents and visitors and is a key retail presence in the town.

We look forward to supporting the store and the management team.  This is also great news for the Camberley House of Fraser’s staff after what must have been a time of great uncertainty.  ”

Sue Mileham, Store Manager at House of Fraser in Camberley, said:  “Our staff are absolutely overjoyed! We are like a family together and we’ve built up great relationships over the years with our customers, who are also delighted. We’ve had people coming up and asking if we are going to be saved, and they are really pleased. It means so much to the town because we are the only department store.”

Camberley set to inspire   

Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) is committed to supporting and regenerating Camberley town centre.  SHBC’s investments have already seen the unique 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 business space.

SHBC is also currently in the process of sourcing an innovative developer 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.

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.  Find out more www.camberleybeinspired.com

Surrey Heath Council attend Revo Manchester, plus Be Inspired video

Surrey Heath Borough Council [SHBC] announce their attendance at Revo Manchester on 18-20th September that offers opportunities to connect and do business with experts from the diverse retail property and placemaking community. See SHBC’s Be Inspired video at end of press release.

The regeneration of Camberley is bringing a revitalised place to one of the most affluent catchments in the South East of England.

Led by a forward-thinking management team and elected members, Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) has invested £140 million into Camberley to drive regeneration and economic growth.

SHBC will be attending Revo Manchester, 18 – 20 September 2018, Manchester Central.  Visit us on stand number 84.

Karen Whelan, Chief Executive, Surrey Heath Borough Council said:  “SHBC’s significant regeneration projects in Camberley are driving prosperity in the town and creating a vibrant place for our local communities to enjoy.   The regeneration work is also creating exceptional new commercial opportunities. Come and see us at Revo to find out more.”

Cllr Richard Brooks, Deputy Leader, Surrey Heath Borough Council said: “We are looking forward to attending the Revo exhibition next week to provide an update on the substantial progress that has been made on Camberley’s regeneration projects.  These projects are transforming the town and creating a great place for our local communities and businesses.”

SHBC’s investments have already seen the unique 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 business space.

SHBC is also currently in the process of sourcing an innovative developer 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.

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.

Be involved

  • 19 September 11:30am – 12:30pm, Cinema: Karen Whelan, CEO, SHBC will be participating in the panel discussion ‘Are shops killing the High Street?’
  • 19 September 4pm – 5pm, Stand 84.  Camberley drinks reception. Join us for a glass of Stovells’ Wild-crafted Gin, an artisan gin produced within Surrey Heath in Chobham.  Talk to Officers and Members from SHBC about Camberley and the opportunities available.

Find out more www.camberleybeinspired.com

Watch our ‘Camberley Be Inspired’ short film

Discovering cheeses: So many more British cheeses to taste

In writing about Boy Laity cheese, in my previous article, I obviously looked at the cheesemakers website, and more widely discovered the British cheese awards.

What a surprise in reading about the British Cheese Awards that there were almost 1,000 cheeses entered for the 2018 annual awards, held at the Royal Bath and West Show.

I’ll let you discover the winners in each of the categories. Good to see that Boy Laity was awarded Bronze in category 8: Soft White Cow [up to 500gm]. Oh, and that Marks & Spencer was the Champion Retailer.

Tesco’s Express store in Lightwater scrapped

The report of Tesco scrapping their planned Tesco Express store in Lightwater is contained in the Friday issue of The Villager, and on Michael Gove’s website.

There’ll be many residents in Lightwater quietly pleased by this development, though MP Michael Gove, extensively quoted in The Villager’s article on the topic, is disappointed over the decision.

Some may’ve wanted a Tesco Express, me not so. Heck, I’ve argued long and hard at planning application meetings that a store of this kind was not needed in Lightwater. Now, if we could have a car park, that’d be high up on my agenda.

Lightwater is noted, particularly by residents, for having one of everything. We may not have the most attractive village centre, this is countered by us having a Post Office, supermarket, coffee bar, hair salons, barber, Cook shop, petrol station with an M&S Simply Food, independent butcher, newsagents, Boots the Chemist, Pharmacy, library, bookmaker, car sales site, dry cleaner, fish & chip shop, variety of food take-away’s, funeral provider, and of course an obligatory number of estate agents. So, my case has been that a Tesco Express was not needed.

In The Villager, it indicated Michael’s support for the store, not sure if that’s true, as he was pressing Tesco for a decision on their intentions, bearing in mind Tesco’s original planning application was in 2010. Yes, that long ago. Need to know more about the saga, then look HERE.

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.

Surrey Heath Borough Council comments on House of Fraser closure

Surrey Heath Borough Council has commented on the closure of House of Fraser in Camberley,

Today, 7 June 2018, House of Fraser has announced proposals to close 31 stores, including the Park Street store in Camberley.

The stores scheduled for closure, which also include its flagship London Oxford Street store, will stay open until early 2019.  The retailer needs the final approval of 75% of its creditors to go ahead with the closures.  Creditors will vote on the insolvency plan, which involves company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) on 22 June.

In a joint statement Karen Whelan, Chief Executive and Councillor Moira Gibson, Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council, said;

“House of Fraser has been in Camberley for many years and since September last year we have been working closely with the House of Fraser Board on new concept designs for their Camberley store, to meet the aspirations of our residents. Whilst the store in Camberley has traded well for a number of years, it is caught by the national challenges faced by the Group which are not necessarily specific to Camberley.

By acquiring the freehold of this site, Surrey Heath did so as part of the wider regeneration of its town and not as an investment. The store has suffered from under investment over the years and the Council was in discussions with them to address this. Whilst these discussions are still ongoing, their own reinvestment proposals are dependent on a formal CVA and their position on legacy stores.

Whilst being disappointed by the news, because Surrey Heath is in control of the freehold of this site, like other sites we have bought, it enables us to continue our regeneration proposals by being able to move forward more flexibly and agilely with solutions.

Our concern is for the staff, many of whom are local, loyal and dedicated people who have also invested in the town centre. Whilst the proposed CVA is the start of a formal consultation process, many further discussions can still be had.

Surrey Heath Borough Council continues to move forward with our development proposals to create a new town centre, not just relying on retail but on the wider experience we can provide for our local community. We would like to see House of Fraser remain part of our future and we are firmly committed to doing what we can to assist that.”

To date SHBC has invested £140 million into Camberley; which includes the acquisition and subsequent refurbishment of The Square shopping centre, and Ashwood House which is currently being transformed into 116 high quality residential apartments.   Substantial projects to improve the town centre car parks, Princess Walk and the High Street are in the pipeline which will soon to be followed by the regeneration of the area along London Road (A30) between the High Street and Park Street and opposite the historic Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.