Posts Tagged ‘Farnborough’

Someone’s idea of a sick joke

April 18, 2014
someone's idea of a sick joke

someone’s idea of a sick joke

This poster has to rank as someone’s idea of a very sick joke.

There is nothing prestigious about a town centre that has been trashed by greedy developers, aided and abetted by the local council.

The reality, a run down and dilapidated town centre, most of the businesses driven out, trees on green space cut down, c 1720s Tumbledown Dick being demolished for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, pound shops, and soon bingo. Kingsmead, one of the ugliest shopping centres in the country, could easily stand in for a post-apocalyptic film set.

Usually, in the street, can count on one hand, the number of people.

Thursday afternoon, more people than usual, but on closer scrutiny, were milling around outside Poundland and 99p Store. Both stores were busy.

A price war has broken out. With the arrival of 99p Store, Poundland dropped prices to 97p, 99p Store matched, Poundland dropped prices to 95p. As the two pound stores battle it out the big loser Wilkinsons.

The little cafes, empty, Kingsmead empty.

New retail opportunities at The Meads, is classic Orwellian new speak of which George Orwell would be proud. Translated into plain English, we have trashed the town centre, bugger-all footfall, and as a result, a ghost town with many empty retails units.

The shops that remain, are paying well over the odds for local taxes and rent.

Local people who have the means, Farnborough a town to avoid.

Destruction of The Tumbledown Dick

April 17, 2014
The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

This is how a local council safeguards its local heritage.

This is what happens when a local council gets into bed with developers and Big Business.

This is what happens when planning officials blatantly lie to push through a planning application on behalf of greedy developers and Big Business.

Lying planning officials said renovation would take place.

Lying planning officials said a historic building was being safeguarded.

This is what happens when local councillors have secret meetings with the Fat Clown and stitch up a deal behind the back of the local community.

Three local councillors met in secret with McDonald’s. Two were members of the planning committee and fell over backwards to push through the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick. One of whom was the chairman. The chairman was foolish enough to later brag that his committee had approved the deal he had agreed with McDonald’s. The third councillor gloated on his blog after the deal had been pushed through.

When the chief executive of the local council learnt that McDonald’s wished to acquire The Tumbledown Dick, he sent out an e-mail with one word: Great!!!

An official, believed to be in the planning department, vandalised a Wikipedia entry to support McDonald’s. That official is still in the employ of the council. No disciplinary action has been taken. The council is refusing to name the official or make public their internal investigation.

It was claimed the building was heavily contaminated with asbestos. Why therefore are the demolition contractors not carrying out any special precautionary methods either to remove the asbestos, or to protect the surrounding area and passing public from asbestos dust? The site is not secured, anyone can easily wander on site. Why are the demolition contractors hypersensitive to pictures being taken? What are they trying to hid? A very old building. Whey no historians or archaeologists present to record any finds?

Local councillors are still spreading the lie The Tumbledown Dick was a drug dealing den.

Local councillors are still spreading the lie there was no alternative.

The local community were willing to buy and run The Tumbledown Dick. They were never given the opportunity to do so.

The Tumbledown Dick dates from the 1720s. It pre-dates modern Farnborough. It was all that was left of the town’s early heritage. It was in recent years, a popular live music venue. For the last few years it has sat derelict. Although a locally listed building and in appalling state of repair, the council refused to enforce repairs.

The Tumbledown Dick is being demolished for an unwanted Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

One of the local vile trolls has already posted gloating comments on the council facebook page, delighting at seeing The Tumbledown Dick demolished.

Contrast the demolition of The Tumbledown Dick with the renovation of The Queen Hotel, a Grade II, early Victorian building in Aldershot.

Destruction of The Tumbledown Dick, is but one example of the damage that is being wrought on Farnborough and Aldershot by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

Yet more hypocrisy from the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

March 24, 2014

To support local businesses and help ensure a thriving local economy … — Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, Arena

The hypocrisy of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor shows no limits.

The latest hypocrisy can be found in the back pages of the Council comic, Arena (Spring 2014), that is if you have not already done what most people do, bin it without a second glance.

On the back pages you will find Rotten Borough of Rushmoor pretending to show concern for the local economy, pretending to support local businesses.

They are going to feature in each issue a local business (more like the kiss of death).

At this rate, with four issues a year, most local businesses will be long gone.

The proof of the pudding is always in the eating, so let us look at some of the polices in support of local businesses.

Half of Farnborough town centre demolished, wiping out many local businesses.

Not content with trashing the town centre, the four remaining independent businesses are to be destroyed at Firgrove Parade. Councillors could not contain themselves to express their glee at these local businesses being destroyed. With it the only green space at the northern end of the town. Council officials blatantly lied to push it through, councillors like a bunch of mindless sheep rubber-stamped what was put before them.

The Tumbledown Dick to be trashed for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. What little remains of local heritage to be destroyed. Local people wished to run as local arts and music venue, but were ridiculed by councillors showing their usual contempt for local community. Officials lied to push it through, councillors like a bunch of mindless sheep rubber-stamped what was put before them. One councillor gloated on his bog.

In Aldershot the town centre on the verge of collapse.

The Council has practiced for years a policy of ethnic cleansing of local businesses, leaving two town centres with no character, places to avoid,

Buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

March 16, 2014

I ate early afternoon. The food was fresh, but no fresh food was brought out after I arrived. Not good for anyone eating later.

As I sat down, I shot back up in pain. As I was sitting down, my weight on my hand as I was sitting down, a nail went through my hand that was sticking up through the seat.

I washed off the blood under a cold tap, my main concern, any infection that I may have picked up.

I told them they should have an accident book, any accident must be recorded. As far as I was aware, nothing was recorded, other than the waiter telling me he would inform his boss.

Ham & Blackbird at risk

February 17, 2014
Ham & Blackbird local press report

Ham & Blackbird local press report

The Ham & Blackbird is at risk.

The Ham & Blackbird is located in the middle of a busy roundabout, on a busy main road the A325, just outside Farnborough Station.

It was owned by Whitbread, who are doing their best to blight our towns with their tacky Premier Inns and Costa Coffee shops.

A greedy developer has acquired the Ham & Blackbird, and as is the wont of greedy developers, is already destroying the trees.

Ham & Blackbird

Ham & Blackbird

The proposal is 62 flats, mixed one and two bedrooms. It would be difficult to imagine a worse location, highly polluted, traffic noise, difficult and dangerous access, and totally inadequate parking.

As a pub, Ham & Blackbird is soulless, as much appeal as a bar in a Premier Inn or a Costa Coffee shop, but its loss is sill the loss of a pub, the fourth within less than a year in Farnborough.

Railway Hotel c 1903

Railway Hotel c 1903

The age of the pub, it has been there since at least 1873, commensurate with the arrival of the Victorian railway, previously known as New Inn and Railway Hotel, meets the criteria for it to listed as a building of local historical interest, and if it meeets the criteraia, then it has to be listed.

Tumbledown Dick, Imperial Arms, Old Courthouse, Ham & Blackbird, which pub will be next when the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor gets into bed with developers? Not content with trashing Aldershot and Farnborough, carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing of local businesses, the local council now seems intent on destroying local pubs, and in doing so, also wiping out what little remains of local heritage.

Your local might be next. The Ship Inn is likely to be the next target.

The Swan Inn is at risk, now that it is owned by TAG. What business does the owner of Farnborough Airport have in owning a pub? A lot if you wish to expand the airort and the Public Safety Zone then encompaases the pub.

Just down the road, The Tumbledown Dick is to be destroyed for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Just down the road, Firgrove Parade to be demolished destroying four local businesses. The trees on Firgrove Green have already been destroyed.

Unbelievable hypocrisy from Gareth Lyon, chair of the local planning committee, who stitched up a deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, whose chairing of the committee was a disgrace, who afterwards bragged that the committee had approved the plans he had agreed beforehand with McDonald’s.

Unbelievable hypocrisy from Gareth Lyon with his comments on trees.

There are a lot of large trees on the site and the council could object to any plans because of them.

Yes, and pigs might fly. The council can be relied upon to find the trees in poor state of health, refuse to serve Tree Preservation Orders, and do whatever it takes to facilitate development taking place, as the council did for Firgrove Green, and has done for many other unwanted developments.

Unbelievable hypocrisy by David Clifford, a local councillor who with Gareth Lyon and a second member of the planning committee, met with McDonald’s in secret, behind closed doors, behind the backs of the local community, and stitched up a deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, then when the planning committee did as they were told and rubber-stamped the plans, gloated on his blog that he was lovin’ it.

To date, the local community has been reacting to events. They must get ahead of the game:

Latest crass stupidity from the imbeciles at the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

November 20, 2013
Queensmead repairs four weeks on and still not dealt with

Queensmead repairs four weeks on and still not dealt with

… this scheme, but as with many of Rushmoor Borough Council’s ideas and plans; it has more holes in it than Cllr David Clifford’s integrity. — Dicky Carter

Not content with squandering £1 million on the shoddy repaving of Queensmead, which as a consequence now floods during every downpour, the latest act of crass stupidity from the imbeciles at the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, is to install free wifi in Farnborough town centre at a cost of £15,000, spread over the next three years.

Do they really think this is going to bring the punters into a trashed town centre which is rapidly going downhill, and now with the planning consent given to demolish the c 1720s Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, an application for a gambling den (for the moment withdrawn) and now an application for a bingo hall, the green light given going down market?

Apparently so, but then the imbecile leader of the council thought repaving Queensmead was exciting news, and that Starbucks making Farnburger aka Farnborough its home, would bring the punters home.

Whatever these people are on, it must have a high street value.

Dicky Carter summed the salutation up with his excellent blog post on what he calls a vanity project.

Completely out of the blue the folk of Farnborough have been told that we are to get free wifi in our town centre.

The Rushmoor Borough Council (RBC) cabinet have announced that they are to team up with The Mead’s and Princes Mead management, to offer this freebie to shoppers at a cost of £15,000 over 3 years to the local tax payer. Councillor Peter Moyle, Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, seems to think this will encourage more local people to the to Farnborough town centre to do their shopping, rather than go another town that doesn’t have free wifi.

I actually support this vanity project, although I suspect many local tax payers will consider it a waste of their money (it is their money by the way RBC). A few early question I do have are:

–> Usually, free public wireless fidelity is absolutely rubbish and useless. What measures have RBC taken to ensure this service will be adequate?
–> Phil Stoneman, economic development officer at RBC says that it will increase dwell time, with customers spending more time in the town centre. Will this just increase the dwell time of teenagers? I have never heard an adult mention that they would stay later “if only a shopping centre had an internet connection.
–> One of the many advantages of shopping in Camberley or Basingstoke and then deciding to stay late for a film or something to eat, is the pay as you leave parking system. Rushing back to put another pay & display ticket on the car will not entice people to dwell. What will be done to resolve this?

Overall I’m a fan of this scheme, but as with many of Rushmoor Borough Council’s ideas and plans; it has more holes in it than Cllr David Clifford’s integrity. I hope this RBC project has more success than the recent million pound renovation of Queensmead, which has resulted in some colourful lights in the pavement and cracks that appear to be excellent at collecting cigarette ends.

Once again we are seeing an appalling waste of money by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

Oh how easy it is to waste other people’s money.

We have seen £1 million wasted on re-paving Queensmead, shoddy workmanship, cheap paving slabs, and it now floods during heavy rain. To top it all, the Farnborough Society, a fake civic society, held a silly festival to celebrate the re-paving of Queensmead, with the help of £1,500 from the county council and unknown sums from the local council.

We have seen an unknown capital sum invested by the local council in a Vue Cinema, a bad employer, part time, low pay, zero hour McJobs.

The imbecile leader of the council Peter Moyle, welcomed as exciting news, re-paving Queensmead and that Starbucks had made Farnborough its home, it would bring people into Farnborough.

Er, no.

One has to wonder what sort of pathetic life Moyle leads if this is classed as exciting news.

The local residents rioting and torching the council offices, now that would be exiting news.

And Starbucks has not made Farnborough its home. Its corporate HQ is in Seattle, and for the UK, to enable it to dodge tax is in the Netherlands.

Most towns do not want tax-dodging Starbucks with its rubbish coffee and poor working conditions.

On the other hand, were a quality coffee shop to open in Farnburger, most unlikely, it would be a cause for celebration.

But then we should not forget, the council fell over backwards to destroy the four remaining local businesses at Firgrove Parade.

Do these idiots really think wifi will bring people into Farnburger, a town town they are determined to take as far down market as possible?

What guarantees do we have that neither the partners nor the Council are monitoring the wifi traffic? I would not wish either the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor or KPI/St Modwen to have access to my wifi traffic, nor trust them even if they say they do not.

How do people log in? Is this a con, provide loads of personal information to gain the right to log in? Again, would not be happy with handing data to either Rotten Borough of Rushmoor or town centre developers.

It will take a little more than free wifi to bring people into the Farnburger town centre.

What are people expected to do, sit on the uncomfortable benches and freeze in the cold, get wet when it rains, their feet in the linear pond that forms down the middle when it rains?

So, I take a trip into the town, just so I can balance my laptop on my lap, whilst sitting on an uncomfortable park bench?

And run the risk of some yob stealing it.

And where do I plug it in?

Having told us repaving Queensmead was exciting news and would bring the punters in, we are now told by Moyle wifi is exciting and will bring the punters in!

This is a very exciting project that will encourage more visitors to the town centre. … By offering wi-fi in Farnborough town centre, we hope people will make a conscious decision to come here rather than a town that does not offer free wi-fi. We also anticipate that people will spend longer in the town and that this in turn will have a positive effect on the local economy.

Moyle really must get out and about more as he is increasingly looking like someone who has lost his marbles.

Why would anyone go to the time, trouble and expense, to visit Farnborough, just so they can use free wifi? And in case he has not noticed, free wifi has been available in Farnborough Library for some time, so you do not even have to go to Starbucks or Costa and drink their disgusting coffee.

How does people sat around using the free wifi, benefit the local economy? Makes it easier to order on-line though.

You benefit the local economy, by spending money in local shops, who in turn recycle money in the local economy. Only we do not have any local shops because Moyle got into bed with St Modwens and trashed the town.

You do not benefit the local economy by spending money in Poundland, 99p Store or Starbucks, as that money is drained straight out of the local economy.

You do not benefit the local economy by destroying the small businesses at Firgrove Parade.

You do not benefit the local economy by demolishing The Tumbledown Dick and replacing it with a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

You do not benefit the social economy by cleansing the town of small businesses.

You benefit the local economy by supporting local small bushinesses, who recycling money within the local economy, small businesses that give people a reason to visit the town. You do not benefit the local economy by supporting national chains that drain money out of the local economy.

You do not draw people into the town by destroying what little heritage and green space is left.

Somehow, I do not think many people are going to take the trouble to go into Farnborough to use free wifi. Yet another example of the local council squandering public money.

I’d rather have The Tumbledown Dick.

Dicky Carter mentions Camberley and Basingstoke, two ghastly town centres especially Basingstoke, which are best avoided, but I agree with his overall gist, people with the means to do so, will continue to go anywhere other than Farnborough or Aldershot.

Note: Picture courtesy of Arthur L.

Redrow red face

November 8, 2013
Farnburger twinned with McDonald's

Farnburger twinned with McDonald’s home of Farnburger Central

If you want to have a laugh, read the marketing brochure Redrow has produced for Farnburger Central.

It reads as a holiday brochure: long walks along the Basingstoke Canal, follow a heritage trail, take a walk in a country park.

Maybe it reads like a holiday brochure, because Farnburger Central looks like holiday lets. You know the type, holiday apartments that are featured in Holidays from Hell. Balconies overlooking a busy main road, enjoy the noise and pollution of the traffic. Built alongside a busy airport, enjoy the noise of aircraft, be overpowered by the fumes from spilt fuel, enjoy the thrill of the risk of a plane crash.

The main difference is, holiday lets are only for a couple of weeks, Farnburger Central is residential apartments, though they give every appearance of being holiday lets

Farnburger Central was developed on land that was part of the airfield. It was earmarked for office space, but when the bottom fell out of the market, someone had the bright idea of residential development alongside the runway of a busy airport, and as always, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor planning committee, ever willing to rubber-stamp any bad development.

Those who live Farnburger Central want out. They complain of inadequate car parking, heavy handed management, even the local Member of Parliament has got involved.

Two-faced hypocritical councillors wring their hands, shed crocodile tears, the very same councillors who rubber-stamped the development.

The woes of Farnburger Central have featured regularly in the local rag.

The biggest load of garbage is that written on Farnburger town centre, whoever wrote it either a congenital liar or has never visited Farnborough.

Farnborough has three vibrant shopping centres – Kingsmead, Queensmead and Princesmead – and boasts a wide range of pubs and clubs.

Er no, it is the place locals with the means avoid. Pound shops, betting shops, charity shops, junk food outlets, boarded-up units, green space and trees destroyed for unwanted development, the only few remaining local businesses to be destroyed. Recently repaved Queensmead, shoddy workmanship, poor quality paving slabs, floods when it rains, a mere £1 million public money down the drain.

A wide range of pubs and clubs. Er, where?

Planning consent has just been passed to demolish The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. A c 1720s coaching inn that pre-dates Farnborough. Until its closure, a popular live music venue. Ooops, there goes the heritage.

Still, never mind, those foolish enough to live at Farnborough Central, will be able to drive down to McDonald’s, only do not expect to be able to park your car, as inadequate parking spaces, then on your return, you will find you have lost your parking space at Farnburger Central.

But is this sort of thing not permitted, do you not have to give a fair and accurate description? Well apparently not, not that is if you print a disclaimer.

Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 In accordance with the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, the information contained in this document is provided for general guidelines only, and does not form the whole or any part of any offer or contract. These particulars should not be relied upon as accurately describing any of the specific matters described by any order under the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991. Customers are strongly advised to contact a Redrow Homes representative for further details and to satisfy themselves as to their accuracy. All information and computer representations contained in this document are taken from design intent material and may be subject to further design development. The dimensions given in the brochure are approximate. They are not intended to be used for carpet sizes, appliance sizes or items of furniture. Images representative only. October 2007.

As always, buyer beware!

Gambling dens

October 31, 2013
Poker machines are the leading cause of gambling addiction in Victoria, Australia, in 2012, $2.49bn was spent on the state's poker machines

Poker machines are the leading cause of gambling addiction in Victoria, Australia, in 2012, $2.49bn was spent on the state’s poker machines

Fixed-odds betting terminals at a bookmaker: the machines have been called the crack cocaine of gambling

Fixed-odds betting terminals at a bookmaker: the machines are the crack cocaine of gambling

Gambling is not something exotic as depicted in a James Bond movie, it is an addiction like heroin, and like heroin, destroys the lives of not only the addict, but also their families.

Gambling is not the glamour of Las Vegas or Monte Carlo, or the casinos, it is the betting shops and so-called adult amusement arcades.

Go into Aldershot, walk past the betting shops and adult entertainment arcades, note the Nepalese, staring like zombies into the screens. These are not people having fun, these are desperate junkies out for the next fix. They fit the image Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described of the Chinese opium dens frequented by Chinese and Sherlock Holmes, or Jo Nesbo in his Harry Hole crime novels.

In these gambling dens are high value slot machines with high value stakes. On casino machines, addicts can stake £100 every 20 seconds.

What has to be seen as insanity but all too indicative of the evil nature of the CondDem government, gambling dens are to be allowed to increase the size of payouts which increases the addiction (like a drug addict getting a bigger hit) to stimulate the market and boost profits.

Mark Henson, lost his job, his home, and came close to ending up in jail in order to feed his habit.

I tell people sometimes I slept with the devil. I did things I never thought I would stoop down to do. In the end, I just had to gamble to get the money to do it. I was no different from a heroine user or alcoholic.

I would lie and manipulate and even fool myself. I was in that much denial. If I earned $A500 a week, I gambled $A1500.

After 12 years of what he calls “reckless gambling,” and four years of recovery, Mark now helps others try to kick their gambling addiction.

A planning application has been lodged for what is jokingly called an adult amusement arcade in Farnborough town centre, Victoria Road, the former Real China, eat-all-you can Chinese buffet.

planning ref: 13/00759/COU

It is a sick joke to claim this will ‘preserve the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre’. Firstly the town centre has neither, it is a failing town centre due to a decade or more of crass planning decisions by a council hell bent on trashing the town centre, the latest of which was to approve the demolition of c1720s Tumbledown Dick, which gave the green light for unwanted developments as this application for a so-called adult entertainment centre. This would be symptomatic of a failing town centre. Diversity is to be encouraged, but not where it detracts from the viability and attractiveness of the town centre. A gambling den would do nothing to enhance the reputation of the town centre, though may well be commensurate with the reputation the town centre now has as the place locally to avoid.

Addition of yet another gambling den will will not increase diversity, not when there are already two betting shops, one within a few paces of walking, the other in the centre of town.

Gambling dens have a tendency to cluster in areas of deprivation. By draining the lifeblood out of a locality, they increase the deprivation.

It is Council policy to reduce deprivation, to date the actions of the Council have been to worsen deprivation, with attraction of low-paid, part time, zero-hours McJobs and the draining of money out of the local economy.

It can hardly be claimed, a gambling den will meet the community’s needs and services. Or if it does, then why not open up shop to supply the local junkies and crack heads, with a back of shop lab manufacturing crystal meths and crack cocaine?

40-50 gaming machines.

How does addiction benefit the community? But will increase crime to fuel the addiction. Social costs of family breakdowns. It will lead to debt, lost jobs, lost homes, homelessness.

There will be a cost to the local economy, as the addict lays his or her hands on whatever money he or she can to pour into the machines.

It is nonsense to claim will have no different impact on the area to when a restaurant. Visit the gambling dens in Aldershot and see the low life hanging around outside.

But as already noted, these arcades are not fun places to be, be they Farnborough, Aldershot or Las Vegas.

Las Vegas at 6-30am, a few hard core gamblers, still putting money into the slots, eyes staring blankly at the rotating numbers, still hoping for that payout that never comes.

…slumped over the slots like a tattered rebel flag after a battle. All their dreams of winning, and money and pride gone…only a crumpled body remained.

Contrary to misinformation being posted by local trolls, there was not two failed restuarants on the site. Real China was a very popular restaurant. It was then sold to Mimosa. They then relocated to Westgate (or Wastegate as retailers call it), in Aldershot.

One of life’s many ironies, the floor above the proposed gambling den, houses, or did when the ground floor was Real China, the local Probation Service, accessed down a narrow alley.

To object, please e-mail:

–> and

If you are a member of a local church or mosque, please alert to this application, and ask that everyone object both as individuals and as the place of worship.

Gambling dens, junk food joints, pound shops, tattoo parlours, pay-day loan sharks, cheap hotels, each reinforces the other, the low pay, mind-rotting employment, alienation, desperation, welcome to Farnborough.

The Tumbledown Dick: The fight has only just begun

October 16, 2013
Save the Tumbledown Dick

Save the Tumbledown Dick

Last Wednesday night (Wednesday 9 October 2013) we were witness to the unedifying spectacle of Rotten Borough of Rushmoor councillors prostituting themselves for McDonald’s, with planning officials acting as their pimps.

Councillors, with the honourable exception of Alan Chainey and Frank Rust, showed arrogant contempt for the 590 objections, to the thousands who signed two petitions, to the local community who do no wish to see c1720s The Tumbledown Dick, until its closure a popular live music venue, destroyed for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The fight is not yet over, the fight has only just begun.

Big companies hate bad publicity.

Costa were granted planning permission for Totnes. Such was the level of anger locally, Costa were driven out of Totnes with their corporate tails between their legs.

McDonald’s have not forgotten the McLibel Trial which cost them dear. They must be looking with abject horror at the negative publicity that is being generated in Farnborough, negative publicity which can do them nothing but harm.

The day after the planning decision, local councillor David Clifford posted a gloating message on his blog, welcoming the decision to demolsih The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. Not surprising, it attracted a large number of negative posts. He has now been forced to block further comments.

Not content with gloating, a few days later David Clifford posted a question: Did we want a live music venue in Farnborough? This was to rub salt into the wounds. Not surprising, further negative comments.

Having done a Gerald Ratner on the local community, David Clifford now appears to be practising the Joseph Goebbels School of Management. Repeat a big enough lie, often enough, and it will be believed. Only it is not working. No, demolishing The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, is not McDonald’s saving The Tumbledown Dick, no matter how hard you try to convince the local community otherwise.

A storm of protest has erupted on the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor facebook page. The rare exception are known local trolls.

People are reposting on their facebook walls, re-tweeting, re-blogging, and being encouraged to do so, to send what is happening viral.

McDonald’s must be looking at all this with abject horror. Do they really wish to be associated with this bad publicity? Do they really wish to be associated with the bad practices of a thoroughly rotten Council? To face a possible boycott, which could go national and trend on twitter? They already have one Drive-Thru in Farnborough, what many already regard as one too many.

The wisest decision McDonald’s could make, is to pull out, and give the local community what they want, their pub back, their live music venue.

Pull out and leave the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor with egg on its face.

In his presentation to the planning committee, a senior McDonald’s suit, said how they are committed to giving to local communities. Well here is the chance, refurbish The Tumbledown Dick, then hand to the local community to run as a local arts and cultural centre, live music venue.

Note: A worldwide boycott of KFC has caused 70% drop in profits! What can be done to KFC, can be done to McDonald’s.

Note: Bolivia said no to McDonald’s. If one country can say no, the rest of the world can say no.

Goodbye Dick – hello McD

October 14, 2013
planning meeting

planning meeting

Last night the Development Control Committee, chaired by the young, talented and Tory Cllr Gareth Lyons had the task of considering the application to convert the Tumbledown Dick into a McDonalds restaurant and drive-through, which had been recommended by Rushmoor Planning officers for approval.

The meeting was, as expected, well attended by a little over 100 members of the public. Given the hype I was surprised there were no television crews present other than a cameraman from the poorly read Aldershot / Farnborough News Group (part of the Guardian group I believe) – I understand they have put details on their web site which I assume has more readers than their local rag. I have nothing against the local paper – just find it incredibly boring and unimaginative to the point I have stopped buying it. The Council also have details on their web site –

The report prepared by officers was comprehensive and precisely set out the issues. The Chairman, Cllr Lyon, handled the meeting extremely professionally. Fran Beauchamp, Chair of the Friends of the TDD, spoke against the application and a representative from McDonalds spoke in favour. After a discussion the recommendation was approved 7 for and 3 against which means the plans can now go ahead. Which means McD now saves the TD Dick

I for one will be extremely pleased to see the area cleaned up at last, and the site used and enjoyed by local families. I’m lovin it….

– Councillor David Clifford, Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

When most people read what David Clifford had posted on his blog, they assumed it must be a parody, no councillor would treat people with this level of contempt, no one would express glee that that a local heritage building, one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough was to be demolished for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

What David Clifford has posted must rank alongside Gerald Ratner saying what we sell is crap, and John Gummer trying to shove a burger down the throat of his daughter at the height of the foot and mouth epidemic.

We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, because it’s total crap.”

Gerald Ratner added that his stores’ earrings were “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long”.

Ratner in 1991 wiped £500 million from the value of Ratners jewellers with what has become known as ‘doing a Ratner’.

Foot in mouth does not even begin to describe this blog post and the attempts at justification.

When in a hole, it is always advisable to stop digging.

It is difficult to believe a ward councillor could be so crass, so out of touch with those in his ward, or express delight at the demolition of a much loved heritage building.

Though this delight is not new. Last year, in an e-mail exchange (dated 27 April 2012) between Rotten Borough of Rushmoor chief executive Andrew Lloyd, then borough solicitor Karen Limmer, and someone only identified as Richard:

Richard: This may be just what is needed … all in a gift wrapped un-solicited package … The sun is shining at last … Lots of potential for a great weekend with this package.

Andrew Lloyd: Well said!

Six months later, Andrew Lloyd, in an e-mail to councillors (dated 29 October 2012), denied all knowledge of the sale to McDonald’s!

What did David Clifford do to help save The Tumbledown Dick, a c1720s pub, until a its closure in 2008 a popular live music venue, a building that predates Farnborough, when all that existed was a few isolated buildings and tracks over a desolate heath.

Er, nothing.

Did David Clifford force enforcement action by the Council on the owners Bride Hall?

Not as far as we know.

Members of the local public tried. The Council refused to serve enforcement notice.

But what we do know, David Clifford and Gerald Howarth MP, went behind the backs of the local community and stitched up a dirty little back door deal with McDonald’s, to demolish the building and leave the façade, and even that will not remain untouched as the windows are to be changed.

He appears to be completely out of touch with the views of local people on the pub. They want to see the building retained, re-opened as a pub, live music venue, local community, arts and cultural centre.

If anyone thought re-opening the pub would cause problems of antisocial behaviour, then wait until a Drive-Thru McDonald’s opens, traffic congestion, litter, antisocial behaviour. Or visit Farnborough Gate, or read the police reports on Farnborough Gate, or see the objections the Metropolitan Police raised to a Drive-Thru McDonald’s opening near Croydon.

It is difficult to see how, in the light of appalling local health statistics, far worse than the national average, a Drive-Thru McDonalds is good for Farnborough.

A recent Public Health England report showed how bad the health and related statistics were locally, far worse than the national average.

- 2,600 children in the Borough live in Poverty
- In Year 6 children, 18.5% are classified as obese which is significantly above the – national average
- GCSE attainment is significantly below the national average
- Violent crime is significantly above the national average
- Obese adults are above the national average

Health is a material planning consideration. At least one school is within the zone which national planning policy does not permit fast food outlets.

The Milestone Surgery (opposite the site), local doctors, a retired naval surgeon, two local head teachers had all raised concerns on health grounds.

Primary School Head Teachers objected – Mrs Sue Harris, Pinewood Infants and Mrs S Masters, Fernhill Primary. Both teachers eloquently stated how they are striving to help their school children understand healthy eating and that this undermines that, plus one of them mentioned the soft play centre and how it would encourage poor eating and less interactions within families. They both also mentioned traffic.. in fact EVERYONE mentioned traffic!!

Did David Clifford, as ward councillor, attend this important planning meeting?

From his comments, it would appear not. The chairing of the meeting by Gareth Lyon was appalling, the committee members sat around the table (with the honourable exception of Alan Chainey and Frank Rust) were a public disgrace.

Did David Clifford, as ward councillor, read the Agenda, bother to read the critical analysis of the Agenda, or take the trouble to read the 590 objections? It was necessary to read the objections, as all the Agenda contained was soundbites, and read as a PR exercise for McDonald’s, well argued objections, were not put before the committee.

Again, it would appear not.

Chairing of the meeting by Gareth Lyon was a disgrace. He came across as a clueless idiot. He was a puppet with unelected planning official Keith Holland whispering in his ear, telling him how to think, what to say.

He failed to keep order of the meeting. When councillors strayed of topic, he failed to bring them to order. When councillors lied, he did not correct.

He lacked impartiality. When councillors spoke in favour of McDonald’s, he did not ask officials to comment. When councillors spoke against, he asked officials to comment.

A chairman should have casting vote only. He declared he would be voting in favour of McDonald’s.

Gareth Lyon is a carpetbagger, hoping for a safe Tory seat. I trust any selection committee looks at the video of him chairing the planning committee, they will see how useless he is, and not wish to touch him with a bargepole.

The Farnborough News is an imprint of the Surrey Advertiser. Both are owned by the Trinity Mirror Group. I agree worthless rag, rarely worth buying, but I would expect councillors to buy it out of their tax-free allowance (something that should have been chopped in austerity).

John Wall buys it, so he can crow about a letter from his one and only supporter.

The report by planning officials was seriously flawed and read as a McDonald’s PR exercise.

The meeting was a disgrace, those councillors who spoke in favour of McDonald’s were a disgrace, they had not done their homework, did not know what they were talking about.

The two honourable exceptions were Alan Chainey and Frank Rust, who had bothered to do their homework, knew what they were talking about.

Far from people of Farnborough in favour of McDonald’s, 590 objections, several thousand signed a petition.

Local doctors objected on health grounds as did two head teachers.

The Tumbledown Dick did not cause a problem of antisocial behaviour, litter, traffic congestion. McDonald’s will cause all three.

65 de-skilled, part-time, low-paid, zero-hours jobs, subsidised by the State.

McDonald’s will drain money out of the local economy.

McDonald’s will externalise costs to the local and national economy: litter, traffic congestion, pollution, antisocial behaviour, health.

The site did not need clearing up, it was not a focal point for rubbish, though will be if McDonald’s occupy the site.

The building was in a very poor state of repair due to wilful neglect by Bride Hall and the refusal by the Council to serve enforcement action.

Serve a Freedom of Information request on the Council and you will see they refused to take enforcement action. That is assuming you get a reply as they are currently refusing all FoI requests, even though a criminal offence to do so.

There were more than sufficient planning grounds to reject McDonald’s, but councillors were told to ignore them.

It was perverse that the Council spent taxpayers money on legal advice to ignore planning policies, in order to push through an application on behalf of an American fast food chain.

No one asked why this was done. No one asked to see the legal advice or that it be placed in the public domain.

Planning has a quasi-judicial function. Can only determine based on the evidence. Asked to reach a decision on the basis of legal advice no one saw.

Since when was a heritage building saved by demolishing it?

I have yet to meet anyone in favour of demolition of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. I have though met many who are against.

Anyone passing through Farnborough, the only image they will now have is McDonald’s. Mind you, the few who visit, rather than pass through, will find it is such a dump, they will agree McDonald’s is an appropriate image.

In the summer, the clowns we have as councillors, fell over backwards to destroy four local businesses at Firgrove Parade, including an excellent Indian restaurant which one of these clowns referred to as a café. On Wednesday night (9 October 2013), the same clowns, fell over backwards to promote a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The one thing we did not see Wednesday night was a well informed debate, we saw half-truths, lies, and personal prejudices come to the fore. No attempt was made by the useless chairman to bring any of these clowns to order. The two honourable exception were Alan Chainey and Frank Rust, two councillors who at least take their roles seriously and exercise informed scrutiny.

When we look around and see the state of Aldershot and Farnborough, then look at the clowns we have on the committee, it is easy to see why.

The comments that have appeared on David Clifford’s blog, indicate how out of touch he is. Probably the only time a blog post by a councillor has been read by more people than can be counted on one hand.

David Clifford has now blocked further comments on the grounds that they have become repetitive, ie they show how out of touch he has become.

But not to worry, you can write those comments here.

To add insult to injury David Clifford has today added a new post, calling for a live music venue in Farnborough!

You could not make it up if you tried.


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