£70m is set to be invested into Egham town tentre, the leader of Runneymede Borough Council has revealed, creating a “new gateway for visitors”. The investment is set to include new homes, shops, a gym and a hotel, with the main areas of redevelopment being Station Road north and the corner of the High Street.
The Egham town centre ‘master-plan report’ was published in November 2013, to ‘advance opportunities for the town centre’. The report states that ‘the area has significant potential for redevelopment, tackling a number of weak areas of townscape and establishing a new good quality public space’. The council would own and run the development, earning returns on the investment. Project leader Patrick Roberts says that “part of our strategy is to acquire assets to change the shape of the community we live.”
Third Year Student Ellie Bicknell said however that: “It seems a lot of money to spend when Egham already has a hotel, and three gyms. The only positive I can see it having is making the High Street easier to navigate for cars.”
Local businesses see the investment as a positive step forward for Egham. Mark Sullivan of Big Fry Fish and Chips claimed: “Egham has needed a revamp for many years. It’s a great idea as long as it is supported by proper parking, and as long as it isn’t just generating money from the council. It needs to be about bringing people into Egham. It will be nice for Egham to have money spent on it and brought up to date”.
Meher Oliaji, vice chariman of Egham Chamber of Commerce, said she would welcome the investment, “so long as it preserves the character of a distinctive small town, rather than creating a clone town. I hope it will be imaginative about encouraging a diversity of interesting businesses”.