Posts Tagged ‘Queensmead’

Farnborough not a success story

November 25, 2014
Farnborough Cycles

Farnborough Cycles

Farnborough is a success is the oft repeated claim of the imbecile leader of the council. What is the secret of this success, is it something other towns may wish to replicate?

Last Saturday, a cycle shop pulled out of Farnborough, this was after five years and a big investment. Why, why pull out, this is not what we expect for a success story? The wrong people on the street, Farnborough attracts the wrong people, those with the means go elsewhere. And the finger of blame was pointed squarely at the local council and greedy developer KPI/St Modwen for trashing the town.

Not much of a success story there then. Let us look a bit further afield.

The cycle shop was located in Kingsmead, a run down, grubby shopping centre, when it rains the roof leaks and buckets are put out to catch the water. Recent cosmetic changes do not disguise that it is a run down ugly shopping centre. Beware of the pillars, as the edges are razor sharp.

The shopping centre resembles a movie set for a post-apocalypse movie, boarded-up shops, a handful of zombies wandering through to escape from the cold and wet outside.

no compensation paid to retailer forced to relocate

no compensation paid to retailer forced to relocate

What was the busy entrance, all the retailers have been relocated or kicked out. Or at least was the busy entrance once upon a time when busy a decade ago. They have been relocated to the dead entrance, even when long ago the shopping centre was busy, this entrance was dead, used by people running to catch the bus. Those retailers forcibly relocated have received no compensation. But then the treatment of these retailers and small businesses no different to those driven out and their livelihood destroyed when half the town centre was demolished to satisfy the greed of a developer, aided and abetted by the local council

A cinema was promised for the summer. If we wish to be pedantic, a cinema was promised over a decade ago, before half the town centre was destroyed. A cinema is now promised for March. A group of chain eateries to cluster like parasites around the foot of the cinema. Only it ain’t gong to happen, there are no chain eateries, nothing but boarded-up units. Nandos was a possibility, but as Nandos at Wastegate (similar model chain eateries cluster around a cinema) has not proved to be a success, Nandos has pulled the plug, and no one else is interested.

The independent cafes in the town appear to have no future, walk by and they are nearly always almost empty.

Triangle, a bowl of soup requested mid-afternoon. No soup. Why, have they run out? No, the kitchen closed at three o’clock. The food in Triangle is awful, the coffee undrinkable. It only remains in business due to regular bail outs. The latest by St Peter’s.

Bread shop cum cafe in Queensmead. A cup of tea. What size cup? A tea bag in a cup, hot water poured over tea bag. Maybe you get a different size tea bag depending upon the cup. A bacon sandwich requested. Don’t do sandwiches. OK, a roll. Too late. Loads of bread tossed in a sack to be thrown away.

Independent businesses are often their own worse enemy. The only way they can compete with the chains is to offer service, better service, quality, better quality, and yet they fail to offer either.

A couple of years ago attempted breakfast in Triangle. Too late. It was two minutes gone their arbitrary cut off. And why two minutes beyond, because of their slowness in serving. There is no excuse for serving awful food. Visit Cafe Mila in Godalming, Guildford Institute Friday lunchtime, Iydea in Brighton, Bristol Skipchen surplus food cafe a not-for-profit in Bristol or Transition Cafe in Fishguard, run by a trust. Quality food at reasonable prices. A quality coffee shop with hand roasted coffee beans freshly roasted freshly ground, a decent espresso machine, an experienced barister, fresh made cakes and cookies.

Why does the bread shop cum cafe throw away its bread? Why not offer half price, why not give away to last customers at the end of the day?

Chains do not close their kitchen half way through the day, or close early. You do not walk in Costa and Starbucks and get turned away, you will be served disgusting coffee, but you will not get turned away.

In the street, three sheds have appeared, selling tat and fast food. Creaming the businesses from local businesses who are there all year round.

The imbecile leader of the council has promised to build on the success of Farnborough in Aldershot.

Farnborough to hold festival to celebrate wasting £1m of public money

August 16, 2013
We're gonna squander £1mpublic money, lay waste to the town, then hold a festival to celebrate

We’re gonna squander £1m public money, lay waste to the town, then hold a festival to celebrate

Queensmead digger

Queensmead digger

Queensmead Open for Business as Usual

Queensmead Open for Business as Usual

I had to do a double take. No it was not April the First, though one could be forgiven for thinking it was. The front page news of the Farnborough News today was that a festival is to be held in October to celebrate wasting £1 million of public money.

Queensmead, new paving slabs are being laid, old trees ripped out, new trees planted, new drains for old, a few park benches, and lights in the ground that point skywards.

The new paving slabs look little different to what was there before.

During heavy rain, last week and the week before, pools of water formed along the middle of the street. This is when the drains have only just been laid, before the drains have become silted up and blocked with fallen leaves.

It was obvious this would happen, due to the poor design.

There are no street lights in Queensmead, the old having been ripped out. At night the street is pitch black, or would be, were it not for a spillage of light from shops. A muggers paradise.

New lights are embedded in the ground, and point skywards!

The cost, £1 million. Though it is rumored to be over budget and heading towards £1.5 million.

Retailers are complaining that it is killing trade. What little trade that is there is in Farnborough, the Council having done its best to trash the town.

Retailers are also reporting their customers are not happy with the work and see it as an appalling waste of public money.

But according to the leader of the council, it is exciting news for Farnborough!

To celebrate this monumental disaster, this appalling waste of public money, a festival is to be held in October.

The festival is to be organised by the Farnborough Society with support from Rushmoor.

Support from Rushmoor? More public money down the drain?

Councillor Barbara Hurst, Sec Farnborough Society:

Our aim is ambitious. We hope to persuade people to completely reconsider Farnborough town centre as a venue, as a cultural centre, as a really good place to do businesses and shop.

For many years Farnborough has suffered a negative image but things are changing.

Is this the same Barbara Hurts who wrote on her blog in 2012:

RBC’s Prospectus … I am deeply disappointed. It lacks vision and it lacks boldness, and will do little to reverse the town’s inexorable decline because Farnborough will remain a cultural desert … This simply isn’t good enough. We deserve better. …

I really like the idea of a town square as a focus for activities such as parades, markets and entertainment. But the bottom of Queensmead is entirely the wrong place for it, and misses a unique opportunity to do something truly remarkable to improve the quality of residents’ lives, to raise civic pride and, crucially, to attract inward investment.

[load of turgid bollocks re destroying green space back of library]

I really hope that Farnborough residents will look at the proposals … and ask themselves whether this is what they want. Is it worthy of a town …

I’m actually pretty angry about this and feel that we’re all being made complicit in the further decline of the town because the slick presentation obscures the fundamental flaws in the Prospectus. If we’re not careful, we shall be stuck with a generic town with no character and precious little in the way of amenities, and I’m determined to do all I can to prevent that.

If nothing else, Hurst stands accused of hypocrisy.

Hurst claims the festival will change attitudes, Farnborough is not a cultural desert.

Er, no. Farnborough is a cultural desert.

A one-off festival celebrating new paving slabs does not turn Farnborough into a cultural oasis. Nor will new paving slabs bring the punters into Farnborough, when all it has to offer is tacky chains like Costa and tax dodging Starbucks, boarded-up shops, charity shops. The reason Farnborough has a negative image is because the Council trashed the town. Laying new paving slabs will do nothing to counter the image of a trashed town centre. It will be seen for what it is, an appalling waste of public money.

One has to question what reality Hurst is living in.

Guildford has a music festival, a film festival, a book festival, three theatres. Godalming has Staycation Live Music Festival, all through the summer, May through to September, Music in the Park.

Guildford, Godalming, Farnham, Alton, still retain their heritage, have many small independent businesses, have green space, have a river.

Farnborough has new paving slabs.

The hypocrisy from Hurst is breathtaking.

The town centre has been trashed, that is why it does not attract people.

In June, the Council approved plans to destroy green space and trees at Firgrove Green, to destroy four local businesses at Firgrove Parade. This is called town centre regeneration.

The pathetic Farnborough Society did nothing to oppose these plans, did nothing to stop the cutting down of the trees.

Farnborough used to have a popular live music venue at The Tumbledown Dick. A 1720s pub that predates Farnborough. It lies derelict, holes in the roof, water pouring into the building everytime it rains. The council refuses to enforce repairs. Application has been made by McDonald’s to demolish The Tumbledown Dick and turn it into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The money wasted on Queensmead would have been put to better use, acquiring The Tumbledown Dick and handing it over to the local community.

The pathetic Farnborough Society has done nothing to oppose the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick. Even worse, last year their chairman wrote to the local rag, welcoming its destruction, and saying heritage would be saved by erecting a sign saying The Tumbledown Dick.

The pathetic Farnborough Society is a disgrace as a civic society.

Shame too on the local rag for uncritically reporting what they are spoon fed by the local council.

The idea of a festival to celebrate a waste of public money, that it will change Farnborough from being a cultural desert, that it will bring punters into Farnborough, should seen it for what it is, a sick joke.

Queensmead: How to squander £1m public money

July 16, 2013

The aim of the work has been to give Queensmead a fresh new look ahead of some of our other regeneration plans – opening up the area to create a space that is uncluttered and more inviting to shoppers. — David Quirk, useless jobsworth, Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

It’s certainly an exciting time for Farnborough and a great opportunity for us to work with businesses and retailers to create a vibrant and modern town centre. — Peter Moyle, leader Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

An exciting time for Farnborough! What planet is this imbecile living on? Turning the town centre into a building site, laying a few paving slabs, squandering £1 million of public money, is an exciting time? Laying a few paving slabs does not create a vibrant and modern town centre.

Yes, Farnborough is uncluttered for shoppers, because there aren’t any.

Queensmead is all that is left of the awful 1960s era yuk that graces Farnborough town centre. It would not look out of place in a Soviet era town, or a run down council estate. It used to be double in length, but half the town centre was demolished for even worse architecture, in the process destroying many small businesses. Leaving behind, boarded-up shops, a Poundland and a handful of rubbish chains like tax dodging Starbucks.

The only attractive part of the town is small green area with few trees as you walk through the town. This is earmarked for an unwanted 80-bedroom Premier Inn hotel, that will be an ugly eyesore, though probably in keeping with the other ugly eyesores that have been erected in the town centre. Not content with destroying the open green space at Firgrove Parade, four local businesses are also to be destroyed

Not a place to visit.

This trashing of the town centre, destruction of local businesses, is jokingly called town centre regeneration. George Orwell would be proud of this use of newspeak.

£1 million of public money is to be squandered laying new paving slabs, ripping out trees and putting in new trees, a few benches and that is it. At a time of austerity, when everyone else is having to tighten their belts, seeing wages frozen or cut, this is an appalling waste of public money.

To put this one million in context, one and a half million is to be spent relaying the cobbled High Street in Guildford.

Few, apart from those who are on medication, would see this cosmetic tarting up, as in anyway revitalising a dead town centre, and certainly is not going to pull in the punters.

Everyone who passes through, or lives locally, sees this as an appallying waste of public money.

There has not even been a good job done. The slabs have been poorly laid.

Queensmead is prone to flooding during heavy rain. There used to be strip drains running down either side of the street. These have gone. The flooding was due to the failure of the council to keep the drains clean. Now there are no strip drains, just the occasionally drain in the middle of the street.

Holes have appeared in the street, as though large termites are at work. These apparently are for lights. Lights in the ground, beaming upwards, blinding passers by. Has no one heard of light pollution? A good lighting engineer designs lights that illuminate the required space, no more no less.

Currently there are no street lights. The street pitch black, the only illumination from a few shop signs. A muggers paradise.

Talking to a few kids, they said they could not see what had changed, it was still the same boring paving. They queried why the green space and trees were being destroyed. The kids also asked why does the council not consult and ask what people want. Others have pointed at the poor quality workmanship.

It is the same in Aldershot, Westgate, or WasteGate as local retailers call it, is wasting the town. There are now moves afoot to kill the Thursday market, all that now draws people into Aldershot.

There are to be celebrations in the autumn to mark this appalling waste of public money.

The work has the support of The Farnborough Society, which only shows how closely they are in bed with the council and care not about the town. They have not been supporting the fight to save the green space, to stop the destruction of local business, have failed to support the fight to save The Tumbledown Dick.

Recommendations by Mary Portas are being ignored. The conclusions of the Lord Rogers Urban Task force are being ignored. Work done by the New Economics Foundation is being ignored. Success stories from towns that still have vibrant town centres are being ignored,

It is as though the lunatics have escaped the asylum and are running the local council.