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Which is the ugliest building in Surbiton?

8 years ago...

Prompted by the discussion about Hotel Bosco, I was thinking that particular building is very ugly - or do I mean simply very plain? It looks like a stack of Portakabins with a bit of wood cladding on top. Another contender for ugliest building must be the one with Costa Coffee and Cancer Research in the ground floor on Victoria Road. Then again the multi-storey car park/ Sainsbury's is a blot on Surbiton's main shopping street too. Hopefully someone will come along and redevelop that site into somethig more aesthetic soon.

Comments

Another contender for worst building has to be Meudon Court and it's neighbouring blocks of flats on Maple Road around the junctions of Grove and Catherine Road.

Clearly, someone saw fit to tear down the lovely Victorian homes that line the rest of Maple Road and replace them with the lowest-cost, functional blocks of flats possible.

Meudon Court is not the worst of them as that honour goes to the hideous powder-blue creation next to the Grove pub, but I have chosen it for two reasons:

1. It looks exactly like the depressing buildings that all of the drug addicts live in on the TV show 'The Wire'.

2. The porches have just been re-roofed and massive warning signs have been put up on each to advise potential thieves that there is no lead available for stealing! It just goes to show how little the freeholders care about the buildings if they expect residents and neighbours to put up with building site style signs permanently.

Surbiton is quite funny like that. Maple Road is beautifully preserved at one end and totally destroyed at the other.

Claremont Road is almost as bad. There are some fantastic houses there overlooking the small park, but at least half of them have been razed to build over-large, concrete blocks of flats which totally change the feel of the road. It would have been fantastic years ago, and the developers could have converted the original houses into flats if that was what was being demanded.

Excatly the same has happened on Portsmouth Road and countless other in the borough.

Lived in Maple Road for 16 years when growing up; lived in a flat in one of those big Victorian Houses. They were lovely, but as they were during the 50's and 60's onward owned by people who did not particularly care about them, they fell in to such disrepair that demolition was possibly the only answer. I was very sorry to see ours and the others go. I think a few years later they would maybe not have been demolished but refurbished. Not only did these houses go, but further down the road between 84 and 106 not only the Victorian houses but one lovely old refurbished farm house style building went, along with several substantial detached houses probably built in the 20's/30's. Two of these were used as St Raphael's Church Presbytery until about 20 years ago. My Mother worked at the Presbytery along with the resident housekeeper for about 25/30 years prior to that. The replacement for St Andrews School was justified, but the blocks of flats put up elsewhere along the road are in places horrendous.
I wouldn't say Glenbuck Court is ugly, just very 20's/30's style. The houses along Claremont Road were/are lovely too......no-one has any taste anymore and developers are just plain greedy!

Mary H.

All,

most of you have posted in this thread because you care about Surbiton's built environment.

There is currently a planning application (submitted by Sainsburys) to replace the original 1930's shop signage at the front of Surbiton Station, above the ex-Excellar wine shop. The proposal is to replace the hand painted, wooden background signage with modern Sainsburys branding.

It would be a dreadful shame is this was to happen, as it would take away just a little of the charm of our favourite modernist building.

To stop this happening, people need to object to the application. There's no good whining about a planning decision when you could have objected and stopped it.

THE DEADLINE FOR OBJECTING IS TOMORROW, FRI 20th SEP 2012.

If you would like to preserve the original signage, please object by

1. Going to the following link on the council's website

http://maps.kingston.gov.uk/isis_main/planning/PlanningComments.aspx?str...

2. Entering your details

3. Enter your comments

If it helps, under the fold, you can see what I've written. Feel free to copy / amend what you like. If a few people object, it should force the planners to at least think about the signage.

Thanks

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would like to object to the replacement of the original hand painted wooden background shop signs to the front of the station.

The original signs are minimalist, reflecting the modernist design of the station. They retain the simple hand painted writing. The original wooden background matches
1. the signage on the shoe repair shop at the other side of the station, and
2. the wood used in various locations within the Station interior.

As such, it is an integral part of the original 1930's design, and should be retained. Not least because it is on the highly prominent front facade.

The proposed replacement, modern, brash and multicoloured, does not in any way enhance the existing signage, and by extension diminishes the authentic frontage of this fine building.

A more tasteful alternative would be for the Sainsburys logo to be hand painted onto the original wooden sign. There are large non-crittal windows in the shop - Sainsburys could easily use those for branding without diminishing the frontage.

Realistically, most of the trade for this shop will be footfall from the station - modern signage shouldn't be needed as most people will know the shop is there anyway. This is an opportunity for Sainsburys to show that it can respect the original 1930's modernist style, and not deface it.

It looks as though these complaints did not work, given that the new Sainsburys has gone for the cheapest possible UPVC windows to replace the wooden ones originally there.

Such a shame, but to be expected I suppose :(

And talking of distasteful, what do people think about the sludge yellow colour they are painting the Cook building on Victoria Road? My 11-year-old had a very descriptive name for it.

Each to their own - I think it is a massive improvement and that the bloke should do the whole end where Sainsbury/YMCA is

I see that RB Kingston's website states the current closing date for comments is 28-Sept-2012 (nb this date can change over the lifetime of the application).

I have replied, not as eloquantly as you, but at least it is another objection.

I must admit, I am quite disappointed that this is going to become a Sainsbury's anyway, but I guess it is better than an empty shop. The council need to try to make sure that it is done reasonably, not like the horrible branch 200 metres further down Victoria Road.

Either way, it will do very little to help the town. The Ex-Cellar shop always looked quite appealing. Visitors to Surbiton may have been momentarily impressed before stepping out onto the forecourt to be confronted by the burger box, kebab shop, cheque cashing place, Phones4U and all of the betting shops....

My vote goes to Glenbuck Court on Glebuck Road by the station - looks like a prison.

I'd disagree - there's a great 1940's style curvy thing going on. The red 1980's looking railings are wrong for the building, but overall I quite like it.
The forecourt area could do with a complete remodelling, taking down the high fence, replacing it with 1940's railings, adding greenery, etc but that's unlikely to happen given that the Council is suffering from big funding cuts and Tories are against funding public housing full stop.

There are so many genuinely bad buildings in Surbiton, it's hard to know where to start.
> 1970's Surbiton Crescent

> that big brown brick 1970's apartment block behind St Mark's church.

> Any 1970's block in Lovelace Road.

> Sainsburys/YMCA

> the recent red building at the corner of Surbiton Road as you go down to Kingston Uni.

> DST house that was built too close to the brilliant Surbiton Station, and recently it was made too high as well -it hides the Station clock tower.

> The 1970's flats at the St Marks Hill / Ewell Road junction

> The alpha estate - the buildings aren't too bad, but plannners have allowed buildings to have been added haphazardly. It's a bit of a sprawly ill-defined space.

> the new flats going up on the Maple Road (beside school) are incredibly bland for new apartments. The style they've gone for is dated even before it's built. They could have done something high quality to fit in with Surbiton's distinctive styles. It could have been Victorian / Arts and Crafts / Modernist, but instead it looks like a mutant lovechild of a 1980's Barrat estate crossed with an OAP home.

It's not all gloom and doom though - the new Lime Tree primary school really looks like a wonderfully designed building, one that will be a real asset to our town. It's design is streets ahead of the mediocre crap that is inflicted on us. See for yourself at

http://www.robertslimbrick.com/images/uploaded/Lime_Tree_Surbiton_01.jpg
http://www.robertslimbrick.com/images/uploaded/Lime_Tree_Surbiton_02.jpg
http://www.robertslimbrick.com/images/uploaded/Lime_Tree_Surbiton_03.jpg
http://www.robertslimbrick.com/images/uploaded/Lime_Tree_Surbiton_04.jpg
http://www.robertslimbrick.com/images/uploaded/Lime_Tree_Surbiton_05.jpg

and more here at http://stmarksward.mycouncillor.org.uk/kingston-and-surbiton-events/lime...

The school is holding an open night for the Surbiton public this Tuesday, 18th Sep between 18:00 and 20:00.
I'll be going just to have a look at the building - it looks great.

More details on the open night here:

http://stmarksward.mycouncillor.org.uk/2012/09/10/lime-tree-primary-school/

As chair of the recently formed Glenbuck Court & Glenbuck Studios Residents Association I would like to add that Glenbuck has been left to its own devices by the local authority for the past 10 years or so and has become run down and unloved.

However plans are afoot to turn this building back into the clean and attractive building it once was. We now have a good caretaking and gardening service plus plans are afoot for new lifts, security and signage plus removal of the fence once the new hedgerow is in place.

We are also in talks with local police and will soon have a good Neighbourhood watch in place.

The community is getting closer here also and will continue to grow this summer with fundraising days etc.

So watch this space

Kind Regards

Matthew Page

Good post! Whilst I agree that the Glenbuck Court building has some archictectural merit, it is kept in vey bad condition and has a lot of additions (railings, windows etc) that make it a very unpleasant 'Welcome to Surbiton' when people arrive from London on platform 3 at the station.

Like you, I abhor the cheap blocks that the council seem to allow to be built in relatively premium locations. The one on the corner of Surbiton Crescent has to be one of the worst finished buildings I have ever seen, and the new ones on Maple Road don't seem to be shaping up much better.

I think Surbiton would have been a very different place 100 years ago with all of it's grand large houses intact. It is such a shame that it was effectively left to rot during the middle of the last century whilst the wealthy moved a few miles away and built massive mock-tudor estates in Esher instead. Surbiton would have been a much nicer place to live for the wealthy if it had remained intact, being on the river and much closer to Kingston/London than Esher.

I am not too disappointed overall, because the last thing I would want is to have Surbiton full of snobby Esher-type people (or footballers!). In actual fact, Surbiton has turned into a nice community in the past 20 years or so, just a very different one to what our ancestors may have expected.

Council planners seem obsessed with granting any form of permit,presumeably to suit Government edicts,but do not seem to care that the result is often the mutilation of many fine buildings.This includes the many Berrylands semis etc that have been disfigured with appalling side extensions that are just a block,no attempt to blend the exsiting roof or even a faux tiled aspect so that the end product is not so brutal.

The other massive problem is that planning has allowed most 2/3/4 bed semis and detached to become 3/4/5 beds and thus destroying the chance for first time and second time buyers to buy in areas like Berrylands,which is rapidly becoming a constant rolling building site.

Parking is farcical driving along Raeburn Avenue for example is ridiculous now and yet there are grass lined verges to both sides that could easily be inset with a metre of parking space and thus enable the K2 and the rest of us to drive along unimpeded and with far less pollution caused by continually changing gear and using 1st and 2nd all the time.

For my money the grass verges are more important than car parking for improving the streetscape. And if the parking helps to keep your speed down and in 2nd gear that's all to the good as it reduces danger and noise. The pollution thing put about by the Association of British Drivers is a red herring. If there is a tiny amount of extra CO2 emitted because you're driving at 20 rather than 40 mph I'd think that was totally OK. Draught-proof your letterbox and you'll save more CO2. Funny how the ABD suddenly takes an interest in 'saving the planet' if they think it justifies them driving faster in residential roads. Frankly the speed limit should be 20 on Raeburn Avenue and all of Berrylands.

Totally agree. Berrylands is exclusively residential and its age profile is changing, with a marked increase in young families moving in. Young kids and rat runners don't mix. The rat runners can be very aggressive, especially going uphill along Surbiton Hill Park.

There should be a blanket 20mph limit. Ridiculous that King Charles Road & Villiers Avenue have it, and the rest of Berrylands hasn't.

The ugliest building has to be Emerald House on Balaclava Road. Perhaps it looked better on the planning application.

The various uncompleted projects belonging to CNM Estates are also blots on Surbiton's landscape.

What is Emerald House and whereabouts is it on Balaclava Road?

8 Balaclava Road, next to the Baptist Church at the Brighton Road end.

I think there used to be a Scouts building there?

The new building is truly ugly - though has a nice "Victoria Road Conservation Area" sign in front of it!!

Thanks for that Jerry; I know the new building but I'd never seen the name Emerald House or heard it called that.

Quick Fit, for me anchors the abject misery of a streetscape totally devoid of any pleasantness that this end of Brighton Road has become. Brian Sewell would be mortified to be juxtapositioned between Jewsons, the G(ass) station and Brandon's 'Tool' hire. What an architectural wilderness to behold in such close proximity to the triumphant tower atop the Natural Chinese noshery.
If one stands outside Prontaprint with a rueful eye cocked over ones left shoulder it is easy to balance the crisp lines of the new rail bridge with the crumbling red masonry paint on the off licence opposite the Lion.
Ban Perspex shop front signs now! Especially illuminated ones!

100% agree with you. That end of Brighton Road has got a real industrial feel about it, which is strange considering all of the 'river roads' that run parallel to it are amongst the nicest and must sought-after areas to live in Surbiton.

It is just another hangover that we have got from the lax 60s-70s planning laws that seemed to hit this area particularly hard. Some of the houses down there are very nice, but the effect is ruined by neighbouring houses that have been cheaply butchered to turn them in to shops and the other cheap modern buildings that have been thrown up. Feels more like Catford than Surbiton down there.

Once this has been allowed to happen, it is hard to reverse but that doesn't mean we can't try!

Stand next to the Black Lion and look up Maple Road and you have a view that hasn't changed for probably 120 years and one that we should try to preserve in case it turns into another planning disaster.

Perfect example of why planners need a good kicking.

Two new shop fronts installed within the last year:

One is in an alleged Conservation Area, within a row of quality traditional shop frontages in keeping with the streetscape.
The other isn't.

So which shop front would you expect to be high quality traditional timber?
And which would you expect to be brash modern aluminium and plastic?

Check out the cheap nasty new Phones 4 U shop within the Victoria Road Conservation Area.
And then grab a cup of coffee in the Pickled Pantry and compare their stylish new frontage. If the Pickled Pantry can do it voluntarily, then why can't other shops within the alleged Conservation Area be made to do it?

Yep, and they clearly used to do it. Look at the relatively handsome wooden frontage that the Surbiton Santander branch has got. That has been there years and compares nicely to the plastic ones that Abbey National used elsewhere.

It always seems hit and miss, though. Nationwide were clearly allowed a plastic frontage in the 70s/80s as they have not bothered updating it since! It is the same in Richmond where MacDonalds has got a wooden frontage even though it is in quite an ugly part of town whilst there are loads of other shops who have been allowed to do what they like.

Once they are there, it is impossible to get rid of them so it is important that they ban all new ones as soon as possible. I think Surbiton could have quite an attractive town centre rather than the eyesore parts of it are now.

Richmond council only allowed planning permission to McDs if there frontage was in keeping and their logo was small and not lit.
They also have refused on at least a couple of occasions, Wetherspoons, to take over old shops/banks/pubs and KFC.

Amazing what having a load of famous and rich c**ts living in an area will do for it's high street.

Now if only we could make Kingston Council think that way about our high street.

Indeed, although to be fair I remember the resistance to Wetherspoons in Surbiton was very strong from the council for years until they finally got it through.

All we need is a common-sense approach - if you want to trade in Surbiton you should be aiming for an appearance that is inkeeping with how the High Street should be, i.e. better than it actually is now! This means no plastic signage, no lit signage, no excessive branding etc. It's not rocket science!

Ionkontrols comment about rich 'people' is very relevant. When there is intelligent control of property assets their value is enhanced and the owners get richer. In Mayfair estate agents were stopped from putting their garishly coloured/logoed boards up. Grosvenor Estate and Westminster council decreed that they. Have to be black on white. At the French Open tennis at Roland Garros the sponsors logos have to be purple on green. The conformity enhances the class and value. The Uniform shop fronts in Burlington Arcade are a major part of the success of the design.
There used to be a photo, in the Maypole pub, of the Victorian terrace in Surbiton Road (where Gypsy Nivana was) when it was first built. It had uniform shop fronts with matching roller canopies to shield the sun. The upper parts were classic elegance. It would be worth a fortune in that condition now.
Lack of maintenance and lack of sensible control on the shop fronts mean that it now resembles something from down town Beirut. It is an eyesore of epic proportions.
The value is probably half what it could/should be. Surbiton is blessed with many unbroken terraces that could be rejuvenated to their former glory and value, like the art deco blocks in Miami Beach.
We need RBK to stop the rot and the landlords to start wanting to be rich 'c ----'.

Excellent comment. The infrastructure is already in place, and it only takes a little bit of encouragement from the council to get it looking it's best.

A lot of people are very proud of this area, so would be very happy to support any efforts to improve it.

Estate Agents boards would be a good quick win. I'd ban them altogether as they are totally irrelevant now anyway. In an area like Surbiton which is dominated by flats there will always be something for sale/let or just sold. I have lived in my road for 5 years and I have never seen it without at least one board up.

I have often thought that the terrace of shops in Surbiton Road must have been really nice when first built. They are all purpose built shops with flats above rather than slpdahs conversions, and could be lovely now but have been allowed to badly fall into disrepair.

Your downtown Beirut analogy is quite apt. It just feels horrible down there and the council are not helping through lack of regulation and giving permission to build that hideous, cheap block of flats on the corner of Surbiton Road and Surbiton Crescent. It is almost like they have just disowned the whole area.

You are not alone in wanting Estate Agents signs being removed. There is Forum topic open covering the issue on here, unfortunately I can't paste a link.

Why can't the council issue penalty fines for each sign that is illegally placed? It would be a good revenue stream for the council. Their traffic wardens could monitor for illegal signs while they patrol the streets looking for illegally parked cars. It's a no brainer.

What is actually illegal? I believe most of the signs that are placed in Surbiton do relate to a property that has genuinely been on the market, but it is the length of time I object to. There is a sold sign up on my street that has been there 6 months!

The central roads are much worse because of the density of the homes but also because people seem less likely to take responsibility for a board that is up outside a block of flats than one outside an individual house.

I'd like to see them banned altogether. People who are genuinely interested in buying or renting will be registered with the estate agents anyway or will use Rightmove.

Ultimately it's Central Government, or more specifically Conservative minister Theresa May, that decides whether they should be banned completely from a given area.

See story at:

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/estate-agent-boards-go-up-again-in-kensin...

"Under current regulations estate agents are free to erect boards without planning permission so long as they are removed within 14 days of sale or letting. They are supposed to be limited to one board per property. However, in reality the rules are rarely enforced and boards are often left for months."

The article describes how several London boroughs have sought what are known as Regulation 7 controls to completely ban estate agents' signs from given areas.

A council spokesman describes how they tried to extend a ban to cover roughly 80???per cent of the borough but the Secretary of State refused to grant the requested extension.

mmmm....I wonder how many of the big estate agents are donors to the Tories. Is there a connection to the refusal to take action to get rid of these useless ugly things

"There is a sold sign up on my street that has been there 6 months" < Well pull it down yourself then.

They should be totally banned in conservation areas for starters, and strictly enforced everywhere else re how long they're up.

I agree with the comments above, the council could use the extra money from issuing fines
I don't think conservation areas should be treated differently to other areas. It's either OK to put these signs up or it isn't. I don't think a street of old "pretty" buildings should be treated differently to a "less pretty" street.
I say ban them altogether.

Good point. In my opinion the conservation area rules should be used only to prevent inappropriate development in these areas and all other rules should apply equally to non-conservation areas as well.

Really we jut need stronger planning rules for the whole area. It shouldn't matter if roads have had a few bad blocks of flats put up in the 60s-70s (most in Surbiton have).

Regarding the comments about car parks and too much traffic in Surbiton. I know for a lot of people Surbiton would be too far to walk, as it can be quite hilly on some of the outskirts, but I am a 20 minute walk into Surbiton and it is far nicer to walk than to drive. You see so much more than if you are driving, and Surbiton is a pleasant place to walk into, from whichever end you come. I appreciate it is difficult if you need to get heavy shopping, or if you don't have much time, but otherwise a walk is lovely and relaxing. Otherwise why not get the bus - at least you wouldn't have to pay parking feesmor worry that you are going to get a parking fine !

There are a couple of new builds in St Mary's road, the one to the left of Lovelace Road which has an awful great garage at the front, just looks like sheets of glass, you can see them sitting in there, very cold and absolutely ginormous. Another one further along towards Ditton Hill on the left, what a monstrosity. How do they get planning ?

The only thing we can be grateful for is that the 1970s planners did not decide to go 'big' like they did in Kingston. Eyesors like the Kingston College building and the Cambridge Estate towers have ruined the Kingston skyline for years and with the current cuts it seems unlikely that they will be replaced with more suitable alternatives any time soon.

Surbiton has been badly let down by the planners over the last 40 years. Walk down one of the many fine, originally Victorian roads (Cranes Park, Catherine Road are good examples) and you will be confronted with hideous slab-fronted, concrete blocks of flats nestling between the original Victorian houses.

I know that everyone was lazy in the 60s and 70s and it was much easier to build a prefab type block than restore the original buildings, but the fact that we are still doing it now beggars belief.

The block referred to in this thread is probably the worst one that has been put up as it is too big for the site and finished very, very cheaply. The fact that is on such a major junction draws attention to it and further depresses a part of the area which already looks very down at heel.

I am surprised no one has mentioned the hideous Alpha Estate between Kings Charles and Ewell Roads. I actually read that this beauty was thrown up in the 1970s to replace 'Victorian slums'. These 'slums' are the same 2 up, 2 down cottages that people are clamouring to pay £500k to live in on Cleaveland Road. That part of the town would be similarly sought-after if those houses were still there, now it is one of the worst parts of town.

Very few ugly buildings in Surbiton which is just a suburb,rarely noticed for stunning buildings.

They are just what we want,simple workman like and functional,the biggest problem is lack of parking which drives many of us to Tesco at NM or Sainsbury at Cobham.

"just a suburb" Ouch!, simply because it's a suburb doesn't mean it need not have attractive buildings. I strongly disagree with you Poppy about traffic and parking. There is too much car traffic and too much parking in Surbiton. It would be a much more attractive place without the streets lined with cars. There are already around a thousand off-street car parking spaces. More parking would make congestion and the environment worse. The streets of Surbiton would look much better if they were not lined with cars. We could actually appreciate the building much better.

Sainsbury's has 212 car parking spaces
St Philip's Road: 68 spaces
Waitrose: : 214 spaces
Total: 494 spaces

Station: 456 spaces
Grand total: 950 car spaces

Totally agree with you on this. Surbiton is a small town centre that offers local shopping for people from Surbiton and the direct surrounds to walk to, maybe taking the car occasionally when they need to do a 'big shop'.

Apart from those who work here, I have no idea why people who live more than a mile away would need to come into Surbiton anyway. It has a good selection of local shops, but those driving may just as well go to Kingston, Esher, Teddington or any of the other surrounding towns if they are closer.

Respect your views Cranes Park,I too would love to see fewer cars parked on the main drag Victoria Road? and also the removal of pointless street furniture including the never used info pod thingy.

My solution is more off street parking especially over and above the station.Sainsburys is ok but mostly business users and an appallingly hopeless ticket machine [filtered word] barrier that seems to strand motorists every time i have used it.

Simple car parks reduce congestion and pollution by allowing the smooth operating of vehicles,more pollution is caused by ridiculous traffic calming measures such as those along King Charles Road and Villiers Road,luckily i can walk this area as I only live a few yards from the downtown Surbiton area in Berrylands.

I think that Surbiton has some very attractive buildings from the Victorian era, nothing 'stunning' as such but it would have been a very handsome suburb when it had more buildings like the Coronation Hall, Electric Parade etc. A lot of the original houses are great, too.

The problem is that Surbiton lost it's identity in the 1970's, and we have ended up with half a High Street of really ugly buildings (those that house M&Co, Costa Coffee, Sainsbury's for example). These ugly buildings tend to dominate what is left of the good stuff. It is the same on the residential streets further out.

A lot of people mock Berryland,s with it's streets of 1930s semis, but the fact is that it has retained it's original identity. Surbiton would have been a much older and more attractive suburb, but it has lost a lot of that now.

I think the Bosco hotel is very good considering that it is a refurbishment, not a new build.
Has everyone forgotten the depressing dark brick 1970's office building that has been transformed into something a lot more vibrant and uplifting.

The street level windows add a bit of vibrancy and life to what was there before. The additonal roof floor doesn't detract from the fancy turrets on the adjoining Coronation Hall.
You mightn't like the style personally, but it's clear that there has been some effort put into the refurbishment - it's not some unimaginitive and inappropriate design picked from some catalogue, like most of the other new build stuff that gets approved nowadays. The interior is very highly specced.

The others on Victoria Road, I'd agree with - they're grim.
The Surbiton Crescent 1970's blocks are also grim.
But my clear winner is more recent, the flats at the junction of Surbiton Crescent and Surbiton Road:

http://kevindavis.wordpress.com/2007/04/24/should-we-still-be-building-u...

Somebody in RBK's planning dept must have been in a coma to let this get built. It's external finish, lack of design features, lack of harmony with existing buildings, especially wrt height make it stand out.

Has everyone forgotten the depressing dark brick 1970's office building? To be honest, when I first saw the Bosco I wondered where it had come from - I couldn't recall what on Earth had stood next to the Coronation Hall - despite having been a fairly regular visitor to the Weatherspoon. And I suppose that's maybe the problem with the Bosco - it is trying to compete for attention with the Coronation Hall.

Here's a 'Before' photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elyob/110429629/

and here's a picture of what I think is Surbiton's biggest blot: http://www.isurrey.co.uk/img/i_image/10644895.jpg

Agree about the building on the corner of Surbiton Crescent - fundamentally the problem is that it isn't set back from the pavement. It's too crowded.

Is Bosco really not a new build? I always assumed it is. It does look very different to the 'before' photo you posted. Here is Bosco from a similar angle... http://tinyurl.com/39mxjh5

What do others think?

100% it's a refurb.
I walked past it twice a day every day while it was getting built and remember the builders cutting doors and windows into the old structure.
The top floor is completely new, as is the bit that juts out the back, and what i presume are the staircases either side.
The main body is just a remodelling, and a pretty good one, considerig the poor building that was there before.

i like the local buildings and i think you guys are being disgustingly rude to the people who made them. show some respect

Apologies for my late comment on this thread - but yes, congrats to the developers of Bosco's for doing a wonderful remodelling job on what was a drab red brick 70's building (in Sainsbury's/YMCA style).

Some out there may have prefered if the building had been pulled down but the well thought out refurb certainly transformed it, brightened up the street scene and added an idividualistic building to be proud of. I just hope the financial problems the business has suffered from and change of ownership will not mean that the exterior maintenance will be overlooked.

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