Thursday, 20 November 2008

Farnborough Town Centre rising from the dust

What is there now - Rok Construction busy laying the foundations

What will rise from the dust during 2009

Works commenced August 2008 and comprises the construction of the foodstore, other retail units, hotel and residential units, together with the realignment of Kingsmead and construction of the surface car park. Demolition and enabling works have been completed. Completion of these blocks is programmed for the end of October 2009.


Anonymous said...

With the St Modwen share price falling and the Independent recommending that you are better off burying your money in the sand than investing in St Modwen, it is touch and go which will happen first, the completion of St Modwen's project in Farnborough or the collapse of St Modwen. Rok Construction who are carrying out the construction work would be well advised to get paid up front.

- St Modwen financial meltdown
- St Modwen swallow credit crunch
- St Modwen claim Farnborough redevelopment complete by Christmas

To the relief of many who have not yet had their towns trashed, St Modwen are pulling the plug, projects are on ice or have been scrapped. Hatfield was not so lucky, their town centre has been trashed, then left. Not for nothing is St Modwen known as the Developer from Hell. The only reason the Farnborough project is still going ahead is because it is financed by Kuwaiti money.

St Modwen claim they have lots of retailers lined up to move in. Who are these retailers who dare not say their name? The reality is retailers are moving out. The best St Modwen have managed to achieve is a shop in Queensmead selling tat for Christmas, a shop that will be gone by the New Year.

During the summer St Modwen had hoardings showing all the new shops they had lined up. A few people were fooled. Those who looked a little closer saw these were fake shops with fake names. A clear case of 'passing off', using brand names of other companies to enhance ones own poor reputation.

The hoardings have now been replaced with ones showing the St Modwen yuppie flats that will be above the supermarket and nightclub/bars or whatever the leisure space will be used for. The flats will overlook the supermarket car park and the back yard delivery yard for the supermarket. A delivery yard that will have 24 hour deliveries, and if you want to know what hell that is, ask the residents who overlook the Asda delivery yard. The pictures outside the sales cabin for the yuppie flats shows them overlooking wooded parkland!

St Modwen claim the flats are selling well. The reality is four have been sold! Foolish to have bought, even more foolish if they paid the original asking price when it will be worth half that by 2010.

Nearby Camberley has a new shopping centre. Retailers are not exactly queuing to get in. All that has happened is retailers are spread more thinly around and have abandoned the town centre.

The Camberley experience should serve as a warning for Aldershot. The proposed shopping centre next to Tesco will kill off what little is left of the town centre. A town centre that consists of boarded-up shops and an empty shopping centre.

Even before the credit crunch hit, retailers were looking to get rid of up to a third of their property portfolio in order to remain in business. Now that the credit crunch has hit, retailers are on their knees, Woolworths is up for sale for a pound. Why would any retailer wish to move into Farnborough, a town centre that has been killed dead by a property developer, aided and abetted by the local council?

Farnborough once had a viable town centre, many and varied shops, many small independent shops, family businesses that had been there for a quarter of a century or more. All have now gone. We used to have an infrequent farmers market. It has gone. The Tuesday market is a shadow of its former self. Social housing has been destroyed to make way for a car park for the superstore. All for what? A large superstore in an area saturated with superstores, with a handful of what are likely to be empty retail units at the back of the superstore. What remains of the town centre will be around the back of the superstore. The superstore competing with the existing Asda superstore, is likely to kill off what little retail is left.

Is it any surprise that local people choose to go shopping in Guildford, Farnham, Alton, indeed anywhere other than Farnborough, and yet another superstore is not likely to bring them back.

Council leader Peter Moyle claims: 'This will be good for the economy, good for the people of Rushmoor and particular good for our retailers.'

Simply not true! Many retailers have seen their businesses fold, the few that survive are not taking in anything like they did in the past. People have lost their jobs. The superstore and the High Street retailers St Modwen claim they will attract, will drain money out of the local economy. The people of Rushmoor have lost the diversity of choice and range of shops they once had.

Council leader Peter Moyle and borough chief executive Andrew Lloyd hold regular closed door meetings with St Modwen to promote the St Modwen agenda and have done so for a number of years.

St Modwen get invited to council meetings to promote their agenda. Local retailers have never been invited, let alone the local community.

Were local people asked if they wished to see their town centre destroyed, a wide range of shops replaced by a superstore? Were local people asked how they wished to see their town centre develop? The answer to all these questions is no.

Sustainable development this is not.

Anonymous said...

About time it started. It will be good for the locals to have a town centre that they can visit in the evenings.

The previous anonymous poster seems to have a bit of as memory problem. Farnborough town centre was dieing way before the evil commercial empire got involved.

What people want from a town centre has evolved and Farnborough and Aldershot have failed to adapt and have been left to stagnate.

The locals I know now shop in Basingstoke, Bracknell, Camberley Reading and Guildford.

Farnham is somewhere you visit when you want something 'twee' or something from a boutique style shop. But apart from the fact the shops are in pretty surroundings its not got a lot going for it as far as shopping is concerned. Good for a night out though. Alton is not what I would class as local to Farnborough.

Anonymous said...

Yet another gullible fool who believes the St Modwen propaganda.

Contrary to the previous post, Farnborough was not dying, it had a good range of shops. We could all agree it could have been better. It has now been all but killed stone dead.

Now we have one huge demolition site, most of our shops have gone.

And what will we get? One huge superstore facing out of the town centre, which will in all probability, kill off what little retail is left.

Anonymous said...

Reported in the local comic last week, council leader Peter Moyle claimed: 'This will be good for the economy, good for the people of Rushmoor and particular good for our retailers.'

- St Modwen claim Farnborough redevelopment complete by Christmas

And it was not even April the First!

Dozens of retailers have been driven out of town, many small retailers into bankruptcy or forced to take early retirement. Local people have less diversity, no longer a wide range of shops. It maybe explains why people prefer to shop in Guildford. Anywhere other than Farnborough and Aldershot, two towns that have been destroyed by Moyle and his cronies.

The national retail chains St Modwen claim they have lined up (but cannot name names) will drain money out of the local economy.

Nearby Camberley has not been able to bring any new retailers into their new shopping centre. All it has done is move around the existing retailers, and emptied the main square. Deck chairs and Titanic springs to mind.

If Camberley cannot bring in new retailers, what hope Farnborough, even less Aldershot?

Woolworths will be next to vacate the town, probably closely followed by W H Smith. How longer will Debenhams remain? A shop that is empty other than when a sale is on.

- Goodbye Woolies good riddance MFI

One of the reasons we are seeing a High Street retail meltdown is the extortionate rents being charged by greedy developers like St Modwen. It would seem they would prefer to see empty retail units than lower their rents. Worst hit are the small retailers. And without small retailers, every town is clone town, lacking in character.

No one wants to shop in a town centre where there are empty, boarded-up shops or on a building site. Everyone suffers because of the policies pushed by Moyle and his mates at St Modwen.

The hike in car parking charges will result in even fewer people shopping in Aldershot or Farnborough. It is now cheaper to park in Guildford than Aldershot or Farnborough. Where would you prefer to shop?

The unlawful introduction of on-street charges in North Camp has already had a detrimental impact on local businesses.