Bricks and Mortar: Wetherspoons would kill town pubs

By David Howell   |   Planning and property correspondent   |
Tuesday 6th July 2021 9:15 am
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Are Weatherspoons moving in on Brightwells? ()

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It’s been a while but I’m back. Last time I reported under the headline that the commercial market is buoyant. I was criticised for saying so, but have been proved right. Space is tight so let me get on and tell you what has happened in the intervening months.

New occupancies

Tech Fog (what a name!) has taken over the former Dorothy Perkins unit at 31 The Borough. I have to say I am disappointed if not appalled at their branded shop fascia within our Conservation Area, and hope someone has a quiet word with them. Yes, Vodaphone are next door, but their shop fascia looks genuinely discreet in comparison.

The Hazy Trails shop at number 27B appears to be re-branded into Vapella,

In South Street, the former Castle estate agents shop at number 7 Bush House has morphed into another vaping shop, also selling a range of different types of handbags, no name on the fascia and I have to admit it doesn’t look pretty. In fact, in my opinion words can’t describe how out of place it looks in Farnham, again in the Conservation Area.

Incoming occupants

The former Oasis shop, 6 The Borough, has been taken over by the hairdresser and beauty company Salon Cabelo. They are planning to open in September offering natural, cruelty free, eco-friendly products working in association with manufacturer Aveda.

The salon’s owner/director, Louise Shailer, told me that they intend to retain the building’s lovely features and character and complement them in an organic rustic feel aligning with the company’s ethos.

Apparently, several customers from their existing Fleet salon travel from Farnham so it’s the obvious location for their second salon. They have been described by customers as ‘not your normal salon’.

Next door in the former RJ Mobile Phone Store, Gin and Chocolate is due to open very soon. They say, “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with Gin & Chocolate.” Another temptation!

Also, in The Borough, the former British Heart Foundation shop at number 28 has been let to the Phone Shop currently trading from 26 The Borough.

In West Street on the opposite side of the road, I understand that a bakery is moving into the former Accessorize shop, details to follow.

The Bears, a healthy food concern, is currently fitting out the former Rosemoor Kitchen unit in Downing Street and Lewis Cotugno told me that they are planning to open within the next week or so. The Bears, formerly trading from the Packhouse in Runfold, will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering vegan, vegetarian as well as fish and chicken dishes.

Further down Downing Street at number 17, the former Zapita shop, Hamilton Tea Rooms have taken the space. Not sure of their time scale but I will let you know next time if they haven’t already started trading.

Under offer

113 West Street, formerly Noa Noa, the former Jack Brunsdon & Son unit at number 23 Downing Street, former Remington Harrow units at number 1 Cambridge Place and number 38 Downing Street adjacent to Strut Parker.

On the Market

One shop unit that caught my eye as being available for letting is Unit 4 in the Lion & Lamb Yard currently occupied by Joules.

My understanding is that the company and branch are trading well, if not very well, so why look to move?

They haven’t, as I understand, sought other property on the market through the two local agents. My guess is that they are looking to take space in Brightwells.

The CEO of Joules hasn’t responded to my email.

Brightwells

I have heard rumours that Wetherspoons are closing in on taking three adjoining units within the new development. Call me whatever you like, but I honestly think that this could be the worst possible newcomer to Farnham, especially to a family-friendly residential environment that they would be an integral part of.

Yes, their beer is cheap, their food acceptable but are Surrey and Crest Nicholson really that desperate? I see it as the death knell to at least some of the pubs in the town centre. Do they really care about Farnham? I will let you decide.

The agent promoting the commercial element of the development, RS Retail, for Crest Nicholson said: “We are making some very promising progress in the pre-lettings of the space, and we should have some tenant announcements shortly.”

Asking Crest Nicholson for comment, I didn’t get an acknowledgement or response. Not brilliant at communicating is an understatement.

Wrecclesham House

Finally, I’d like to tell you about the arrival of a new restaurant in Wrecclesham later this year. I am not allowed to say much but mark my words they will be the hottest food destination in Farnham when they open, with a dining experience to match the best in Surrey – offering an intimate, warm, family friendly experience, with the finest food and wine.

All within a listed historic building, accessible to a wide range of residents.

* What do you think? Email [email protected]

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