A POCKET of land on the corner of Woolmead Road and Bear Lane was auctioned on Thursday, March 25. I understand there was considerable interest.
The auctioneer’s guide price was £125,000. Maybe they thought that would be a come-and-get-me price. Well, let me tell you, it worked – the bids reached the dizzy height of £495,000.
The land, most recently used as a private car park, was originally part of the Woolmead land package but I understand Berkeley Homes didn’t feel it necessary to acquire it when they bought the main Woolmead site.
Upon reflection a bit of a mistake but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Who was the successful bidder we will have to wait and see.
LOWER WEYBOURNE LANE APPEAL
I reported of the-then forthcoming Lower Weybourne Lane appeal in March. As you read this, the appeal has yet to be closed and Bewley Homes’ barrister is yet to give a written submission of his closing remarks to the inspector. I mention this because Bewley’s planning consultant cheerfully told the inspector this development, not needed and unwanted by the majority of the residents of Farnham, would contribute to our ailing local economy as if his development was something special.
What town or city doesn’t need assistance at this time?
So how is the retail sector of the town doing? Before starting research for this article, I thought it was suffering but I was pleasantly surprised. True, we don’t know how many shops will open on Monday or not, only time will tell. But I can report some strong activity with many of the shops on the market through our local commercial agents.
Where to start? Elite Stitch have relocated into 49A Downing Street, the former Taylored Beauty Bar shop, from 12 Upper Church Lane. Laura and Katie Taylor continue to trade from Alton.
12 Upper Church Lane has already been let, heads of terms agreed, although it is too early for the agents to release the name of the ingoing tenant.
Staying in Downing Street, the incoming café tenant for the former Rosemoor Kitchen premises, number 24/25, is going through the legal process, and the John Brunsdon shop on the corner of Upper Church Lane has had several viewings already and the agents are upbeat about an offer coming shortly.
There are also viewings on the Strutt and Parker office and adjoining former Ordri shops, something I had not been told about before. If that develops into something positive, Strutt and Parker will no doubt be relocating somewhere else.
I am not combining the two but there has been interest in the former Zapito shop unit at number 17.
LION & LAMB YARD
Things are less rosy in the Lion and Lamb Yard, although it isn’t all bad news. Unit 16, the former Surrey & Hants News office, is under offer. Nothing confirmed but the owner of Coffee Diem, George Murray, was in deep conversation with someone when I walked past recently, talking about more space.
It would be a good fit, being opposite the cafe. There are some four other shop units available in the Yard at the moment. I heard rumours of a fifth becoming available shortly, but these are unconfirmed.
The Borough has several shops which are on the market. Number 28, formerly the British Heart Foundation charity shop, is under offer from a mobile phone repair business.
Number 6, formerly the Oasis fashion clothing shop, is under offer by a hairdressing business, Number 31 has had several viewings in recent weeks and it is highly likely an offer could be made shortly. Beverley Edmondson, Millinery, formerly at number 27, has relocated to Mead Lane, their original shop having had several viewings already.
Activity at 113 West Street, the former Noa Noa shop, seems to have stalled, although it is still under offer. The deal on 104/104A (104A Farnham Interiors lighting shop) completed just before Easter.
An investor taking the whole premises to occupy the office element and let the shop element – that’s my guess.
Moving east, 5 Cambridge Place, formerly LightHouse Clinic, has been let to Remington Harrow, hairdressers, currently trading from number 1 Cambridge Place. There have been viewings at number 1 already.
Tucked away to the left of number 1 is the door to Pace House, formerly occupied by Breathe Studios, gym and physical fitness centre.
Another gym business is interested in this space, which extends over the former Solent Cleaners, former William Hill betting shop and Oxfam charity shop.
There have been a number of viewings of the former Solent Cleaners shop recently.
Almost all the viewings across the town centre have been from independent shops and food takeaway businesses.
OUTSIDE THE TOWN CENTRE
On the periphery of the town centre there is also activity. Howdens Joinery are moving to larger premises on the Farnham Trading Estate.
Playtime Nursery have reconsidered their interest in the Pump House in Kimbers Lane but a new offer has been made by a specialist education business.
Grade II listed building Wrecclesham House on The Street in Wrecclesham is under offer to, I understand, an independent fine dining restaurant company.
Looking at the internal photos of the building on the agent’s website, it is a perfect use for the building.
Let’s hope the deal goes through.
Things look better than they appear. Stay positive.