The Central Precinct of Chandler’s Ford is a paradise for snooker players. Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club is located at the back of the Central Precinct, facing Ahmad Tea company.
It is the last remaining snooker club in Winchester, Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh.
The family run club has ten well-maintained tables and is open seven days a week to members and non-members. The club has a strong junior section and has nurtured some of England’s talented players.
History of Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club
Ken Everett and his late business partner Norman Croucher, then owners of Winchester Snooker Centre, opened Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club on July 31, 1990. The club is now run by Ken and his son Jim.
Jim told me that the premises of the Snooker Club used to be an office of a supermarket.
Jim told me that his family owns the titles of the common grounds of the Central Precinct, including the car park area. However they are bound by many restrictions. There are many landlords (about 15) and agreements have to be sought for any changes to the common grounds to be considered.
One key figure at the Central Precinct is the cleaner Keith Medley. Keith has been cleaning the grounds for about 50 years. The grounds are managed by a company called Keygrove.
Daniel Mulcahy, who runs From Old To New furniture upholstery and restoration shop, told me that Keith has been around the Central Precinct “since the time the precinct was built.”
Central Precinct: Does it need a make-over?
The Central Precinct was built about 55 years ago. The development of the Precinct has been an ongoing issue for many years.
Daily Echo carried this piece of news in Jan 2003:
“Plans to breath new life back into an ailing Chandler’s Ford shopping centre have been included in Eastleigh’s draft blueprint for the borough.”
The Central Precinct does look tired. According to a report on 12th November 2004 by Daily Echo, Eastleigh Borough Council agreed to spend £15,000 on getting a scheme for residential development up and running.
Many shop owners wanted to see the site transformed. (You can click on image below to read the larger version.)
Suzette Matthews, who used to run The Precinct Gift Centre and Coffee Shop, emphasised that the precinct definitely needed redeveloping.
However, how much has been done to improve the Central Precinct in the past few decades? Many people feel that place looks drab and badly needs a coat of paint.
Perhaps we need more than just ‘a coat of paint’?
In recent years, we see major developments at the Fryern Arcade, comparatively, the Central Precinct seems struggling to keep up.
Central Precinct needs structural improvements
What does Jim Everett think of the development of the Central Precinct?
Jim told me that the building was built with reinforced concrete, soon the Precinct will need large redevelopment and repair. Jim said, “If repair becomes excessive to landlords, the Precinct will start look tired.”
Jim thinks that between the next 10 – 20 years, upgrading the concrete will become important to the building. To survive, the Central Precinct will need to spend money for major makeover, ultimately a structural improvement.
If you were a councillor, what would you recommend?
Cosmetic spending might keep it going for 10-20 years but ultimately it will have to be replaced. Do we do it now or hang on until general decrepitude forces action?
The traders want a pleasant and vibrant environment to get people to go there.
The people want a pleasant and vibrant environment also but with useful shops and facilities. Is there public WiFi at the Central Precinct?
In all its life the Central Precinct of Chandler’s Ford has never quite worked as a shopping precinct. For how long should one keep trying? Can you think of any simple changes that would make it work?
(hat tip: Mike Sedgwick, Nick Coleman, Jim Everett)
Next post: Interviews of traders at the Central Precinct.
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