Last time I said I would comment further on the REEL cinema. So, here we are...

REEL licence

I am absolutely delighted that at long last the cinema has opened in Brightwells Yard. You will no doubt recall that I previously said it was supposed to open during the summer of 2021. I have to admit being concerned when they applied for a licence to sell alcohol until 2.30 in the morning but during the sub-committee meeting revised their application to 1am.

REEL signage

I am concerned and disappointed that the signage on the east elevation of the main building which houses the cinema is as large as it is, 2.4 metres / 8 foot high. Yes, a company has to advertise but really, in this day and age, does the signage have to be so overpowering especially in a small market town? The fact that it is so high up doesn’t help matters. The signage over the entrance door is a modest 1 metre high/3 foot.

Did the REEL signage on the east elevation of Brightwells have to be quite so large?
Did the REEL signage on the east elevation of Brightwells have to be quite so large? (David Howell)

External paving

I have always been concerned at the quality of the paving. I think it is nothing less that appalling to be honest, both in colour and quality of workmanship. I am hearing that the town council has raised this issue formally now. Hopefully all the paving will be looked at again.

Entrance and foyer

The first thing that hits you when you go through the entrance doors is the staircase, it seems to go on for ever, although in fact is only some 27 steps with a half landing. 

There is a passenger lift to take those less able to the first floor foyer level. The planning application records that the lift will carry 17 people, it seems small to me, but I am sure it will suffice.

The question was asked why hadn’t escalators been installed. No answer was given. I imagine cost.

The foyer is spacious. The seats and tables hadn’t arrived when we looked around but hopefully these will create a warmer, less hollow feeling in the space. The acoustics weren’t good when we were there, or in the Facebook video posting.


The five, standard, screen auditoriums each seat between 73 and 123 customers. The seats are generous in size and legroom incredible. Ok, I don’t go to the cinema much but the level of comfort in the standard screens makes the old cinemas we used to go to seem like a very tall man trying to sit in the back of a pre 2000 mini. 

REEL Lounge

The sixth auditorium is called the REEL Lounge. This seats 106 and includes 13 two seat sofas. The first time you enter the entrance corridor your mind jumps back to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As reported in the Herald in the last couple of weeks the experience is nothing less than luxurious. I was sceptical when we were told two or three years ago that what REEL would be providing was above and beyond (my words). They were right. 

I do however question how long the back cushions will remain in the Lounge auditorium! No doubt very ‘wantable’ or desirable to many. 

I also question the facilities being offered to the wheelchair users. There were no facilities to hold drinks or plates when we looked.

Saying everything I have, I believe that, if you like the cinema, you will be in seventh heaven.

Coppa Club

The Herald also updated readers on the location of the forthcoming Nando’s in the Brightwells development a couple of weeks ago. Buoyed by the news and having read on Facebook about the status of Coppa Clubs parent company, Various Eateries, I did a bit of research into the different restaurant chains. By the way, Various Eateries’ share price has halved since May 2023. I am hearing that they may not open until August (2024) now.

Brightwell House Coppa Club

The Restaurant Report

The report published by Restaurant in partnership with Entegra provides a league of 101 restaurants in the UK based on consumer trends, acquisitions and growth of brands.

Subway are top of the table, McDonald’s second. Other brands we have in Farnham include Beefeater, Zizzi’s, Cote and Bill’s. Nando’s are fifth in the table, Coppa Club currently not in it at all.

Vacancy report 

Since my last article I have received the January shop vacancy report from Curchod & Co. I have to report that the number of shops vacant had increased by three from the number reported in October last year. The latest report records 15 vacant shops, the percentage increasing from 7.8 to 9.8 per cent. However, the latest report includes the former Joules unit as vacant. This is being let to Busby and Fox. However, it excludes number 4 The Borough formerly occupied by Ruby La La.


It looks like Megan’s won’t be opening until later in the year. Autumn I am hearing. Other recently acquired properties are being fitted out first. More when I have it.

Busby and Fox

It’s official, Busby and Fox are moving into Farnham. Exchanging emails with their PR representative she is uncertain when they will be opening but told me: “We are very excited as you can imagine, and Farnham is such a fantastic spot. Perfect for the Busby & Fox customer.” 

Busby and Fox describe themselves as “an independent woman’s clothing brand with a beautiful and unique collection designed for you”. 

The Borough

The former NatWest Bank at 39 The Borough is under offer, details when I have them. I have sought an update from the agents marketing the ground floor of the former HSBC bank at 33 The Borough.

 The agents marketing the former Bowley’s shoe shop at 40 The Borough continue to avoid responding to emails. 

In my last email on January 30 I gave the agent a selection of multiple choice answers. No response. 

Trying or what?