OBJECT: Demolition of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s

The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

a Drive-Thru McDonald's will feed into this

a Drive-Thru McDonald’s will feed into this

a Drive-Thru McDonald's will feed into this

a Drive-Thru McDonald’s will feed into this

trash McDonald's

trash McDonald’s

Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of or damage to a heritage asset the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any [planning] decision. — National Planning Policy Framework

planning ref: 13/00512/FULPP

Deadline for objections: Friday 6 September 2013

Note: late objections will be considered, but please get in as soon as possible.

Objection to:

plan@rushmoor.gov.uk keith.holland@rushmoor.gov.uk

Note: You may also wish to copy your objection to members of the planning committee, other councillors, Gerald Howarth MP and the media.

Note: Please encourage your friends to object. Please spread the word.


Dating from the 1720s, The Tumbledown Dick is one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough. A once popular live music venue, it is is now sitting derelict, with holes in the roof.

McDonald’s have submitted a planning application to demolish The Tumbledown Dick and erect a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. They will retain the front façade of the building.


The Tumbledown Dick is a locally listed building and an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and is therefore a ‘Heritage Asset’ which means the planning committee cannot permit development which would result in destruction of the building. McDonald’s proposal to keep only the façade but demolish the rest of the building, is thus unacceptable and must be REJECTED.

As a local listed building, it is contrary to that policy to demolish. The only exception is if to be replaced by a building of outstanding character. A Drive-Thru McDonald’s does not meet the exception.

Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect by the owners (it has been wilfully neglected) the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any planning decision, ie it cannot be decided it is ok to demolish due to deliberate neglect by the developer.

There are holes in the roof, water is pouring through these holes. The situation will rapidly deteriorate with winter storms.

As a matter of urgency enforcement action must be taken to install a new roof, put good all the internal damage. If the owners refuse, the Council should undertake repairs and bill the owner. In the meantime, scaffolding must be erected and the building enclosed within a waterproof membrane.

Why is the Council refusing to take enforcement action?

Heritage gives a sense of place, of well being.

The best way to protect heritage is to put it to some use. Proposals have been put forward to bring the building back into use as a community owned cultural centre.

Asset of Community Value

The Council recognises the importance of the building by registering it as an Asset of Community Value. Were it to come up for sale, the local community has the opportunity to purchase the building and run it as a local cultural centre. Friends of the Tumbledown Dick have in place such plans, but they will only be granted that opportunity if the plans to demolish the building and turn it into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s are rejected.

The building is also locally listed as a building of local importance.


Farnborough is a cultural desert.

Proposals have been put forward to bring the building back into use as a community owned cultural centre cf the West End Centre in Aldershot.

A refurbished Tumbledown Dick would feature live music, art exhibitions, serve good food and coffee, source wherever possible locally, provide meeting space, possibly a recording studio, employ local people on a living wage, recycle money within the local economy.

Traffic and pollution

By its very nature, a Drive-Thru is a traffic generator.

The Farnborough Road, A325, is a main arterial route, at peak times approaching gridlock, the traffic between the two roundabouts either very slow moving or not moving.

The Drive-Thru would feed directly onto this main road, very close to a major junction.

How many cars queuing before there is a tailback onto the main road? This already occurs at the Drive-Thru at Farnborough Gate. A tailback onto the main road, close to a very busy junction, this then feeds back down the slip road to the Blackwater Valley Road.

Queuing traffic causing potential tailbacks onto a main arterial route between two of the busiest roundabouts in Farnborough could be dangerous, as drivers exiting the Pinehurst Roundabout may have to slow down or quickly change lanes to avoid the queuing traffic for the Drive-Thru. This could be dangerous and may lead to accidents.

Deliveries to service the site will be carried out by large articulated lorries, due to the limited space on the site, the tracking shown in the plans means the lorry will have to block 7 parking spaces plus 1 disabled space during their deliveries (potentially blocking parked vehicles for up to an hour).

To exit the site, the articulated lorry would have to carry out a very difficult manoeuvre and go over both lanes of the A325 dual carriageway. This could lead to accidents or traffic delays.

Parking – there are insufficient parking spaces for the site and size of the 2 storey restaurant proposed. This will lead to further traffic queues and is not in keeping with local planning requirements for 63 spaces minimum as only 30 spaces are proposed.

The prevailing wind is from the west. The unpleasant stench of cooking oil will drift across residential areas 18 hours a day.


Nationally we have an obesity epidemic and associated health problems such as type 2 diabetes. Health care costs are spiralling out of control.

Type 2 diabetes used to be known as late middle age onset diabetes. It is now effecting young people in their mid-twenties.

Two-thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four is classified as obese.

Contrary to myth, children do not exercise less. They are not getting fat because they exercise less, they exercise less because they are getting fat. They are getting fat because of what they eat.

By 2001, obesity in the UK had doubled in men and trebled in women. And it was rising. Two years later WHO published a ground-breaking report that said the food industry marketing to children high calorie foods and the increased consumption of sugary drinks was having a major impact on obesity.

Bad as health statistics are nationally, these are even worse in Aldershot and Farnborough, due to lack of education on healthy diet, lack of exercise, poor diet and too many fast food outlets serving high fat, high sugar, high salt, energy dense, junk food.

Rushmoor has a rising obesity problem (it is above the national average in children of Reception Age and Adults), should the council approve yet a further fast food outlet, especially one aimed at families due to the soft play centre?

You only have to walk through the town centres of Farnborough and Aldershot and notice the number of fat, overweight and clinically obese people, often with some disgusting fast food in their hands, eating on the hoof. Then look around and observe the number of tacky fast food outlets. Try counting the number in Aldershot town centre, one soon runs out of fingers and thumbs on both hands.

Even more noticeable the dire situation locally, if you then take the same walk in Alton, Farnham, Godalming and Guildford and do a comparison.

At the McLibel Trial, McDonald’s admitted they serve junk food.

The plans for the Drive-Thru will have a soft play area. This is to entice children into a lifetime of bad food, poor health and an early death. Do our children not deserve better?

Health is a national and local material planning consideration.

Islington has health and control of the number of fast food outlets and their location built into its local planning policies. Why does not Rushmoor?

Islington has an excellent pub protection policy, as does Cambridge. Were a pub protection policy in place locally, as required by national planning policy, there would be no planning application from McDonald’s, as The Tumbledown Dick would have had to be put on the market as a pub, free of pubco ties.

Noise and Pollution

The constant hum of traffic passing through the Drive-Thru lanes, 6am to midnight, 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, is going to cause more traffic noise and pollution in a zone already at the high-end range of pollution. It will lead to an increase in litter around the area and the Empress ward, plus an increase in anti-social behaviour in light of what already occurs at Farnborough Gate.

The Rushmore core strategy and the SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) where Rushmoor states they want to provide a “clean and healthy place to live.” There are also planning regulations in the National Planning Policy Framework about Noise and Pollution.

Stationary or slow moving traffic generates far more pollution than free-flowing traffic. This will become a pollution hot spot.

By its vary nature, a Drive-Thru generates car journeys, this leads to increased pollution, increased CO2 generation.

How is the increase in CO2 compatible with the statutory obligations of the Climate Change Act (2008)?

Climate Change Act (2008) sets a legally-binding target for the UK to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

At a recent talk entitled Focus on Farnborough (Wednesday 28 August 2013), looking at the past, present and future of Farnborough, Andrew Lloyd Rushmoor chief executive agreed there was congestion on this stretch of road and action was required. Mitigation is not pouring many more cars and lorries onto this congested stretch of highway. If action is required to reduce the traffic, then it is not possible to approve an application that by its very nature is a traffic generator and would pour many more cars onto this congested arterial highway.

A precedent has been set. Opposite, on the other side of the road, plans to expand a doctors surgery were rejected on the grounds that it would pour additional traffic onto this stretch of highway. The number of extra cars would have been insignificant compared with that generated by a Drive-Thru whose very businesses model is based on traffic generation. If the doctors surgery was rejected on the basis of extra traffic onto the same busy road, then the Drive-Thru must be REJECTED.

Litter and antisocial behaviour

Polystyrene burger boxes cannot be recycled. These will be destined for landfill or incineration, assuming of course not thrown in the street.

Walk past any Drive-Thru McDonald’s and note the amount of litter not only in the vicinity but also scattered down the road. McDonald’s claim to employ litter patrols. The very act of employing litter patrols, is an admission of causing a litter problem, and clearly these litter patrols are not effective, else we would not see the litter. Has anyone ever seen a litter patrol?

McLitter finds its way as far away as the top end of George V Playing Fields.

At Farnborough Gate, staff were dumping the rubbish in the bushes.

At the McLibel Trial, evidence was submitted that showed the litter problem caused by McDonald’s.

For whatever reason, Drive-Thru McDonald’s attract anti-social behaviour. A place for the low-life to congregate.

The Metropolitan Police have OBJECTED to a two-story Drive-Thru McDonald’s at Wallington near Croydon on the grounds that it would lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour. Local residents have handed in a petition with 1,200 names objecting.

There is an easy way to stop the litter and anti-social behaviour, REJECT the planning application.


McDonald’s, as with Sports Direct and Vue Cinema, is a bad employer, low pay, temporary part-time jobs, zero-hour contracts, low skill, high employee turnover, a revolving door with the Job Centre down the road.

Low-skill jobs, otherwise known as McJobs. The businesses model of Ray Kroc, was based on job de-skilling.

A good restaurant, employs skilled chefs, newcomers learn new skills, important life skills, how to prepare and cook meals.

The number of jobs McDonald’s claim they will create should be seen as a gross exaggeration and taken with pinch of salt. Unlike their junk food which has more than a pinch of salt. 65 jobs, which is an estimate at the high end, is not 65 full-time jobs. These are part-time, temporary, zero-hours contracts McJobs, which equate to a handful of real jobs.

McDonald’s state this site will create 65 full-time but mostly part-time jobs, but any jobs lost in the family-run takeaways opposite due to competition in the immediate vicinity should be mitigated against this. In addition, McDonald’s operate their employment contracts for 95% of their ‘crew’ on zero-hour contracts, which means they do not have to guarantee any set hours of employment and staff will only be paid for hours worked. Crew staff are paid minimum wage, which can lead to continued reliance on additional employment or the benefits system.

No one can survive on zero-hour contracts, not knowing how many hours worked, how much money will come in on any week. Bills land on the doormat with monotonous regularity.

We should be looking to good employers, who at the very least pay a living wage, who give guarantees on working hours, who are wishing to employ skilled people, and when a person leaves, they do so with enhanced skills, improving their prospects in the job market

Local economy

McDonald’s is an international chain. It will drain money out of the local economy, not recycle money within the local economy.

We then have the externalised costs of dealing with the health costs, the stress of living on low wage and uncertain hours, the cost of subsiding the low wages through the benefit system.

Rushmoor is (allegedly), committed to tackling local pockets of deprivation, much emphasis was put on this by Andrew Lloyd at his recent talk.

You do not tackle deprivation by draining money out of the local economy. You do not tackle deprivation by opening yet more fast food outlets. You do not tackle deprivation with McJobs.

You tackle deprivation by paying living wages, improving skills, improving diet and health, plugging the leaks and recycling money in the local economy.

Rushmoor is (allegedly), committed to tackling local pockets of deprivation, much emphasis was put on this by Andrew Lloyd at his recent talk. You do not tackle deprivation by draining money out of the local economy. You do not tackle deprivation by opening yet more fast food outlets. You do not tackle deprivation with McJobs. You tackle deprivation by paying living wages, improving skills, improving diet and health, plugging the leaks and recycling money in the local economy.

There is a strong argument to be made for the social and economic value of a community pub. IPPR’s recent report Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs, placed the wider social value of a sample of community pubs at between £20,000 and £120,000 per pub. It noted that pubs inject an average of £80,000 into their local economy each year, besides their cultural and practical community value.

Need for not demonstrated

The need for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s has not been demonstrated.

There is a Drive-Thru McDonald’s a mile up the road, there are takeaways opposite, behind as part of the cinema complex, two restaurants, with the possibility of more to come.

On the other hand, we know the abysmal health statistics due to the locality saturated with too many fast food outlets.

Lack of vision

Farnborough and Aldershot town centres have been destroyed by lack of vision and decades of bad planning decisions. Boarded-up shops, tacky chains, charity shops, fast food outlets, gambling joints. All the signs of failing town centres. The places to avoid, and those who have the means go elsewhere.

A few new paving slabs in Queensmead is not going to bring the punters in. Even less a festival to celebrate an appalling waste of public money.

A Drive-Thru McDonald’s is simply going to reinforce the bad image of Farnborough.

Towns need heritage, a sense of place, diversity.

In Paris, we still see street markets. In Alton, Farnham, Godalming, the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer.

With fresh, cheap, easily available food, people cook. They lead healthier lives.

Heritage, good food, diversity, a sense of place, leads to well being.

Farnborough is a cultural desert.

The Tumbledown Dick as a community owned cultural centre, would safeguard heritage, it would provide music, art, good food, support local businesses, it would link in with The Barn in Farnham, West End Centre in Aldershot, Electric Theatre in Guildford, it would enhance diversity, not reduce.

A Drive-Thru would simply reinforce all that is bad about Farnborough.


Bad on several grounds: noise, litter, traffic congestion, pollution, health, destruction of local heritage.

The planning application to demolish The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s must be REJECTED.

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One Response to “OBJECT: Demolition of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s”

  1. keithpp Says:


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