Rumours are flying around that Cook are moving into the former Hoops Velo shop, at Seven Stars House, East Street – or at least half of it. I popped into the existing Cook shop at 21 Downing Street and spoke to Paul, the manager.
He knew the word was out but was unable to confirm the status of transaction, or in fact whether it was going ahead.
The Farnham branch was the first of the 90-branch chain, set up in 1997.
Downing Street has six freezers while most branches have an average of 20, I was told, hence the number of deliveries and need for tightly controlled stock. Seven Stars House will be considerably bigger.
The staff were excited about the prospect of a bigger shop, but my friends questioned the isolated location of Seven Stars House, albeit with parking, on a road junction shortly to have major works being carried out, with forthcoming building construction work to three sides.
More when someone can talk to me. Hoops Velo were moving out when I looked into the shop last Friday.
I have emailed my contact at the restaurant chain Megan’s, drawing attention to the increasingly dilapidated state of the former Argos building fronting West Street. In the spring I forwarded details of a company that could vinyl the windows to improve the appearance of this prominent building.
She replied then that the building wasn’t officially theirs yet but would do so when they could.
She has just confirmed Megan’s have now completed on the acquisition and will be tidying up the frontage and ‘vinyling’ the windows as soon as they have an opening date, so they can include it in the vinyl text.
Several residents have mentioned the state of the building to me, and rightly so.
Another building looking decidedly dilapidated is the Santander bank in The Borough. You would have thought an occupier like Santander would want to maintain a respectable façade to their premises.
Or are they also about to withdraw from Farnham? I haven’t heard anything.
Talking of dilapidated buildings, one has to ask when Crest are going to get on with the former Marlborough Head pub? It looks appalling.
Former Farnham Wholefoods
I caught up with the business owner of the pop-up shoe shop Dariush Kharrazi last week.
Dariush intends to open at number 44 Downing Street towards the end of this week and continue to trade until their stock is depleted.
He has been in business since 1983, having shops in numerous locations in London, and his business still trades from St John’s Wood High Street as Regal Shoes and from Weybridge as Accent.
Asking how long he envisaged his stock lasting, he said hopefully Christmas.
Flicking through Pat Heather’s Farnham and District Museum Society book on the history of Downing Street, one can see a photo of the original shop as Accent on Page 93.
Former Orvis shop
Rumours (the rumour mill is working overtime) unconfirmed by the agent as a done deal, that The White Company are moving into the former Orvis shop unit in the Lion and Lamb Yard.
The White Company, which sells luxury clothing, homeware and gifts, have local branches at Guildford and Winchester.
Redgrave Rooms, Bush Hotel
Thursday, September 21 saw the launch of the Redgrave Rooms at the Bush Hotel.
The hotel has invested a considerable sum refurbishing the Farnham Central Club building at 13 South Street. Access is available through the Bush Hotel garden and offers numerous meeting and event spaces for hire supported by a new kitchen and bar.
The spaces are now so much more attractive and welcoming. Ask to have a look if you are planning an event.
Mark Chandler, managing director of Vale Furnishers, has told me he should know about their move back to Ash Vale in November.
Signage in the, now partly curtained, shop window confirms that their lease ends at the end of 2024.
I am hearing from a reliable source that Coppa Club will shortly be starting their restaurant fit-out. Great news, because I’d heard unconfirmed rumours earlier in the month that they were having serious doubts about coming to Farnham.
I walked past Brightwell House immediately prior to preparing this article. Progress has been made on the carbuncle extension to the rear of this listed building.
I can’t honestly see Coppa Club opening this side of the new year – it could be January or February 2024. A friend drew my attention to the finish on the south-facing elevation, specifically the gaps and squareness of either the window openings or windows. Have a look next time you are passing.
Heaven’s Kitchen are still scheduled to occupy one of the restaurant units on the square of Brightwell’s Yard but their ride has been far from smooth.
Former Carphone Warehouse
The landlord has appointed local joint agents so the letting of this long-term empty unit is being taken seriously, at last.
Next time I will be talking about Farnham BID (Business Investment District). Business plans will have now been distributed to all the retailers and commercial businesses in the BID area.