How the new-look Mall Camberley could shape up
Ambitious plans for a £5m refurbishment of The Mall in Camberley will go before planning chiefs next week.
A scheme put forward by The Mall’s management company, Capital & Regional (C&R) has received landlord consent from Surrey Heath Borough Council's (SHBC) executive, which sees this as a crucial early phase of the redevelopment of the town centre.
The scheme is recommended for approval when it is considered by the council’s planning committee next Thursday (May 12).
A case officer said the overhaul would make the shopping centre more of a draw for businesses.
In his report, the officer wrote: “The applicant’s overall aim is to modernise The Mall, so that it remains an attractive and competitive destination for shoppers and investors.
“The design solution would respect the wider historic townscape and enhance the overall environmental quality of the town. By association, this would promote the centre’s retail health and future viability.”
Members of the executive were told that if planning permission is granted, C&R intends to start the refurbishment work in June – work that is expected to last for 10 months.
Much of the work will be carried out in the evening when shops are closed, so that it doesn’t interfere with trading.
A temporary shop front has been created at the 02 store within The Mall to give shoppers and traders an idea of the design.
A report presented to the executive read: “This is an important part on the regeneration of Camberley town centre, the council’s key priority.
“The shopping centre, which is clearly dated in its look, will be much improved. This will hopefully attract more tenants to the town.”
A report to the planning committee explains that the ‘comprehensive’ revamp will feature ‘contemporary treatments’ to shop fronts using materials such as oak timber panels, aluminium and applied graphics.
The scheme includes new lighting and flooring throughout The Mall, plus alterations to columns and roof detailing.
The central café at Cambridge Square would remain, but there are proposals to build a new café at The Square.
“Given that this is an enclosed shopping mall, this proposal would have no adverse impact on the traditional architecture of the town centre,” the report said.
“The applicant’s rationale is that the mall has a dated appearance and, given that this is more than 25 years old, it is considered the introduction of contemporary materials would only enhance the environment.”
Camberley 'at risk'
The case officer highlighted that the refurbishment of The Mall would have wider benefits for the town centre, – acting as a ‘catalyst’ for businesses to invest in Camberley.
“An improved environment (at The Mall) would increase the desirability and image of Camberley, supporting a vibrant and active town centre,” he said.
“The modernisation of the Mall would ensure the overall town centre remains competitive.”
He also warned of the dangers of a lack of investment, adding: “The town centre has shown resilience in surviving recession, but it is close to competing centres, including out-of-town locations.
“This competition, together with planning improvements at other centres in the catchment area, means that Camberley is at risk of slipping in retail rankings.”