Bricks and Mortar: Lots of movement on the high street

By David Howell   |   Planning and property correspondent   |
Thursday 18th June 2020 6:00 am
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The former Swain & Jones showroom is now ready for occupation ()

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PAVEMENT widening in the town centre took place ready for Monday, June 15.

The council have volunteer marshals available in The Borough and in Downing Street to welcome pedestrians, provide guidance and get feedback from residents, the public and local businesses Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4.30pm, until Saturday, June 27. Please provide them with your thoughts, however minor – the more feedback they get, the more they will learn.

CASTLE STREET

Iain Steele of Park Steele has informed me the shop unit formerly occupied by estate agents Waterfords at 72 Castle Street has been let to funeral directors Alan Greenwood & Sons.

The nearest of their 25-plus offices are in Elstead and Guildford. I have no details other than the lease was signed last month.

No doubt they will be starting fitting-out works shortly.

THE BOROUGH

The former BJ Store telephones shop at 5 The Borough has been empty for months. Does anyone know anything about the shop?

STATION HILL

The Herald reported on the fire at Station Hill Store in March 2019, with fortunately no injuries incurred, since when there appeared to be no activity. But towards the end of May a new roller shutter and entrance door were installed, and contractors have recently started repairing and refurbishing the shop internally.

EAST STREET

An agent’s board has been posted on the former William Hill betting shop premises at 5 East Street. The agents, CBRE, have been slow to respond to my request for details and nothing is posted on the internet. I understand William Hill are required to continue to pay the rent until the end of their lease.

There has been considerable interest in the former Solent Cleaners shop unit at 6 East Street by ‘interesting independent retailers’ which Iain Steele feels will be warmly welcomed by Farnham residents.

No names yet but he is encouraged by the level of interest so quickly after the start of release of the lockdown.

The Kar Ling Kwong restaurant at 48-50 East Street closed on February 23, 2019. Does anyone know what is to become of the restaurant premises? The shop is boarded up and unattended.

The former Swain & Jones showroom, now dubbed ‘The Coach House’, is ready for occupation. Described as a two-storey office block, it is a lot more. Back in 2016 I heard it may have been a restaurant.

Meanwhile, I hear the apartments and penthouse in the luxury ‘Lionsgate’ block at the former Swain & Jones car sales forecourt at 80 East Street should be available for viewing now. Contact Andrew Lodge to arrange. I understand they will bring a new meaning to the word ‘luxury’.

BRIGHTWELLS

Activity appears to have increased, but it is still well below that before the site closure in March. No attempt to communicate with the people of Farnham that I am aware of.

No new names of interested retailers, restaurants, or pubs. Do they care? I will leave you to decide. There are now some 300 letters of objection to the felling of the three mature trees adjacent to Brightwell House. Waverley’s western planning committee should be determining the application in July.

THE WOOLMEAD

The application by Berkeley Homes to reduce the number of parking spaces from 141 to 80 is being determined by the western planning committee on Tuesday, June 23.

The Farnham Society’s Facebook page will post the decisions immediately after the Waverley western planning committee meetings have finished.

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