Posts Tagged ‘The Tumbledown Dick’

Gerald Howarth Saves The Tumbledown Dick

January 14, 2015
Gerald Howarth serves a Big Whopper

Gerald Howarth serves a Big Whopper

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

Gerald Howarth must think the local community stupid if his latest Big Whopper is anything to go by.

What can only be seen as an insult to the intelligence of local people, Gerald Howarth claims to have Saved The Tumbledown Dick.

Really, in that case it must be an illusion that it has been demolished, the oldest part demolished, the internals gutted, leaving only most but not all of the front façade intact.

And for what, a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, when there is a Drive Thru only a mile up the road.

The stomach churning stench from McDonald’s is not the only stomach churning stench coming from The Tumbledown Dick.

This is the same Gerald Howarth who did a dirty behind closed doors deal with McDonald’s to destroy Tumbledown Dick, then blatantly lied he had saved.

First he made much of the historic importance of The Tumbledown Dick. The same Gerald Howarth whose track record was to back all the way the destruction of Farnborough town centre, even going so far as to call one retailer whose livelihood was at stake to tell him he could not understand what he was complaining about. Then having emphasised the historic importance of The Tumbledown Dick, he does a dirty little back-door deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick. Then having bragged at the rubber-stamping of his sleazy little deal, he has the gall to blatantly lie that he Saved The Tumbledown Dick. You could not make it up if you tried.

Far from Saving The Tumbledown Dick, Gerald Howarth was instrumental in its destruction. Without any consultation with the local community, Howarth engaged in a sleazy back door deal with McDonald’s to destroy a c 1720s coaching inn.

What else doe Howarth get up to?

Serving up a Big Mac and fries. Serving Big Whoppers seems to be a bad habit.

Howarth compares the service he provides with that of McDonald’s:

I myself have 75,000 constituents who I serve and I do that in a similar that McDonald’s approaches its customers.

In the infamous McLibel trial more than a decade ago, the barrister acting for McDonald’s admitted in court they serve junk food.

Is this an implicit admission by Howarth that he provides a junk service? The local community that fought hard to save The Tumbledown would not wish to disagree.

It takes a low life specimen of humanity to act for a pay day loan shark.

Howarth did however have his five minutes of fame, acting as handbag carrier for the Iron Lady.

Howarth opposed the Right of Recall, the right of constituents to dismiss their Member of Parliament. It is easy to see why, turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

Gerald Howarth is a prime example of why people have nothing but contempt for politicians.

It is time to get dirty money out of politics.

Not though only Gerald Howarth.

Vile local trolls did their best to sabotage the campaign, one persistent troll, a public disgrace as a county councillor, posted misinformation, displayed ignorance of planning matters, posted abuse and eventually had to be blocked from posting comments.

Gerald Howarth serves a whopper

Gerald Howarth serves a whopper

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No problem with traffic congestion

June 9, 2014
The Tumbledown Dick traffic congestion

The Tumbledown Dick traffic congestion

No problem with traffic congestion, that is what the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor in the pocket of Big Business and greedy developers said of plans to demolish the c1720s Tumbledown Dick for a 200 plus seater Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

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.

Councillor David Clifford is Innocent?

November 7, 2013
BBC1 Garrow’s Law: Tales from the Old Bailey Garrow would have been on his side

BBC1 Garrow’s Law: Tales from the Old Bailey Garrow would have been on his side

On his blog David Clifford published the following letter from an unnamed council jobsworth which he claimed showed his innocence.

It did anything but.

Dear Cllr Clifford,

I understand that you may be already aware that complaints had been made, so I just want to confirm that I received five complaints from members of the public all expressing anger with the content of your blog posts relating to the Tumbledown Dick decision and one also alleged undue influence on the planning process itself.

In my capacity as Monitoring Officer I have looked into these complaints and have come to the conclusion that the content of your personal blog is not a matter covered by the Code of Conduct for Councillors which relates only to actions undertaken in a member’s official capacity as a councillor.

I have looked into the other matters raised and have concluded that there is nothing to suggest that you acted other than in accordance with recommended practice, and of course you are not a member of the Development Control Committee so took no part in the decision made.

I have now informed the complainants that we will not be taking any further action in respect of these complaints.

Kind regards
Solicitor to the Council and Monitoring Officer

Local councillors are in theory there to serve the public. It is not surprising therefore, when David Clifford, a Rotten Borough of Rushmoor councillor, started using his blog to abuse the local community, people got upset. Half a dozen were sufficiently annoyed or upset, they filed formal complaints.

David Clifford claims he has been cleared. But has he? Let us first step back a little.

We have independent police investigations, and for very good reasons. When even a Cabinet Minister is stitched up by lying police officers, one who continually forgot to mention to House of Commons Committee that he had attacked a member of the public when off duty and had ‘lost’ CCTV footage, what hope the rest of us?

We used to have an Independent Standards Board for England, for a very good reason, as we cannot have police investigating police, we cannot have councillors and councils investigating their own. 

Under the old regime, it is highly unlikely David Clifford would have been cleared. You only have to look at a Farnham councillor who was found guilty a few years ago.

Or look at Peter Sandy, a very hard working councillor, who was obstructed at every turn by officials, who was stitched up by same officials. When it came to a hearing, he was cleared of almost all the false charges laid against him, and of those found guilty, these had to be seen in context, he called an official a liar. The official was shown to be a liar, but apparently as a councillor you are not allowed to say so. So much for accountability.

Would Pete Sandy had got a fair hearing locally? We all know the answer would have been no.

We had, and assume still have, on the one hand, the Borough Solicitor giving dodgy advice and how to get away with it, then on the other hand, wearing a different hat as local ethics officer. You cannot be both.

We had three Rushmoor councillors found guilty of a very serious offence. They were the let off, due to poor advice by the borough solicitor, ie they had been advised to do something dodgy by the borough solicitor. It sounded like a conspiracy and if nothing else, was grounds for firing the dodgy borough solicitor. 

To now look how the David Clifford complaints have been handled.

First where is the investigation? A letter from a council anonymous jobsworth is not an investigation. 

Second, the author of the letter, who does not have the courtesy to provide a name or a signature, is wrong in fact. Clifford is writing as a Rushmoor councillor. Not writing as someone who happens to be a councillor, who happens to be writing a blog. He clearly states he is writing as a Rushmoor councillor for the local Empress Ward.

Welcome to David Clifford’s weblog, which enables Empress Ward residents see what David Clifford is up to, get an idea of his views on various topics and give him feed back, other than when he is out walking round the ward. NOTE: Some views expressed by Cllr David Clifford may not be supported by the Conservative Party. Contact David via david@empress-tory.org or follow him on http://twitter.com/davideclifford 

He has a blog, which is attributable to a councillor. 

—> http://cllrclifford.blogspot.co.uk 

Therefore it is very clear, he is writing as the local ward councillor.

When David Clifford met with McDonald’s and stitched up a dirty little deal behind the backs of the local community, he did so as a local councillor, together with two other councillors, both of who sat on the planning committee, one of who was the chairman, plus the local MP, who a few years ago bragged his service was comparable to McDonald’s (at least a little honesty from Gerald Howarth).

Maybe unbeknown to David Clifford, the chairman of the planning committee was caught bragging that the deal approved by the committee was what he had brokered with McDonald’s.

Did David Clifford act to influence the planning committee? A moot point. The truth is we do not know. 

What we do not know from this grubby little meeting, is was what fees were requested from McDonald’s, as from what we see in both the Commons and the Lords, this is standard practice, and Howarth does have a habit of claiming retainers from very unsavoury clients, like arms dealers and pay-day loan companies.

What is interesting, is that our anonymous latter writer ‘concluded that there is nothing to suggest that you acted other than in accordance with recommended practice’.

In other words, to treat the local community with arrogant contempt, ignore their wishes, then gloat, as we saw with the councillors and officials at the planning committee, is ‘recommended practice’. 

Is he cleared?

In the Court of Public Opinion, no. Before a properly constituted and run Tribunal, highly unlikely.

David Clifford responds to criticism by accusing people of posting hate, that he has the right to say what he wants, and accuses people of being ignorant and not knowing the facts.

It is correct, councillors are entitled to free speech, but as councillors, they are also expected to comply with a code of conduct and act for the local community.  They are also required not to bring their public office into disrepute.

He has failed miserably on all counts.

It is reasonable to expect councillors to check the facts, to exercise due diligence and scrutiny, not regurgitate the lies drip fed to them by officials.

Once again, lies and half truths being spouted on The Tumbledown Dick. 

The building was subjected to wilful neglect. The Council refused to serve enforcement action.

If there was such concern at the state of the building, then why no CPO served?

And please do not say no money.

The Council has been happy to make a capital investment in the Vue Cinema in Farnborough, a commercial cinema chain and a bad employer.

The Council was happy to squander £1 million (or maybe more if rumours not within budget are true) on the shoddy re-paving of Queensmead. Then the County Council wasted a further £1500 of public money on a silly festival to celebrate squandering public money re-paving Queensmead.

When Andrew Lloyd learnt of McDonald’s acquiring The Tumbledown Dick, he could not suppress his glee.

Six weeks later, Lloyd blatantly lied to councillors when he claimed he knew nothing of plans of McDonald’s

There was not the problem Clifford claims outside The Tumbledown Dick late at night. On the other hand, go into Aldershot late at night. Or visit Farnborough Gate in the evening. 

Who is providing this false briefing on The Tumbledown Dick? Clifford and the ignorant councillors on the planning committee are all singing from the same song sheet. Is it officials, or is it the Andrew Lloyd – Peter Moyle cabal that runs the council, keeping everyone in the dark, including Clifford? 

Clifford is agreed he has been offensive. Code of Conduct requires courteous behaviour to members of the public. There is also not bringing his office or the council into disrepute. How does he reconcile the two and still claim to be innocent?

What is this Stalinist State he is rabbiting on about?

The Stalinist State is the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor dictating to the community. There is no accountability, no democracy. Indeed, at the planning meeting, the head of planning, as ever in the pocket of developers, instructed the committee to ignore the local community, and told them they were not there to make a democratic decision. Not that they needed any telling what to say, how to vote, as that had already been decided beforehand. 

Most people have checked their facts. It is ignorant councillors who have failed to check their facts.

Demolishing one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough, is not saving it.

Demolishing the building is contrary to the Council policy on local listed buildings.

Refusing to carry out an architectural and historical survey of the building BEFORE it is demolished, is contrary to the Council policy on local listed buildings. 

Why was this not written into the s106 legal agreement? Yet another example of deliberate negligence and maladministration by officials and failure to exercise due diligence by councillors. 

To say the building will be serving food, is to stretch the definition of what we call food, or at least food fit for human consumption.

Do a little research on what goes into industrial burgers. Horsemeat is the least of your worries. Diseased horses, rotten meat several years old, turned green, causing those who had to handle it to vomit as the smell was so bad. 

You can fool some people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time …

There has been no hate campaign, at least not by the local community. Local people are though very angry and disgusted at the manner in which they have been treated.

Take a look at the Rushmoor facebook page, and also note comments are being deleted, people blocked from making comments.

Yes, we are all entitled to our own views, as ordinary citizen, but councillors, commenting as local councillors, are expected to comply with a code of conduct, are expected not to bring their office into disrepute, and are expected to represent the local community.

Try reading the excellent article by Gavril Postnikov published by Medium.

Also the excellent article by Dicky Carter

The only reason there was a local campaign to save The Tumbledown Dick, was due to the failing by local councillors. And once there was a campaign, far from supporting it, there was a concerted effort at sabotage.

We have seen negative briefings by officials, including chief executive Andrew Lloyd and then borough solicitor Karen Limmer telling the campaign who they should not talk to.

We have seen a very unpleasant smear campaign by John Wall.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in that sense, yes, David Clifford is innocent.

But to date, we have not even seen a properly conducted investigation, and the borough solicitor, who defends actions against the council, is neither a proper or impartial person to carry out an investigation. And even worse, in this case seems to have been defence, prosecution, judge and jury. In other words, yet another Rotten Borough of Rushmoor farce showing the same arrogant contempt for the local community, which now appears to be officially sanctioned Council policy.

The letter from an anonymous council jobsworth has not cleared David Clifford, far from it, but what it has done, is officially sanctioned as council policy, abuse and arrogant contempt of the local community.

We are seeing is a complete failure of local democracy.

Arrogant and Condescending

November 6, 2013

Don’t tolerate your local politicians and representatives who have an attitude problem

Arriving at the council offices of the borough in which I live, you can tell they inhabit a world of their own—a sort of enclave insulated from the nitty-gritty of the outside world by landscaped gardens and reserved parking spots. As you enter the lofty, double-height “atrium”, you are greeted by a towering vitrine filled with trophies and trinkets which attest to the authority’s supposed greatness and put you, the mere citizen, in your place. This sense of grandiosity seems to have afflicted the councillors and bureaucrats who live under that roof, manifest in the outward haughtiness, pomposity and gross indifference to people’s concerns they display.

I write this now following a recent planning case which represented something extremely negative in the eyes of many and provoked the formation a major campaign in opposition to it. The application made it to committee and, among the many asinine comments and assertions made by the panel, one line (aimed at the campaigners) stuck in my mind in particular:

“Where were [you] five years ago[…]? And why is it [only] now that [you] are coming to light?”

I see :— so what you’re saying, Mr Councillor, is that because the campaign group happened not to exist in the first instance of this scenario’s drawn-out history, their opinion is now therefore invalid? And, because your minds have (evidently) long-since been made up, no additional commentary is relevant anymore? Wonderful!

At the moment I am in the process of setting-up a local group aimed at promoting the betterment of the area. It is hard work — it takes time to assemble people, scrape together resources and plan the next movements and, unfortunately, there have been times when we should have been there to respond to certain issues but (for one reason or another) were not able to. Owing to that I anticipate that we will likewise be subject to the same sort of petty hole-picking and will likely be asked the same question of “where were you at such-and-such a time when this happened before?”

Were we confronted with this feeble attempt at detraction by a town hall egghead I suppose my response (as campaign director) would be that, at the time, we were bumbling around individually with the naive idea in our heads that the council and its staff were there working for us — on our behalf and using their authoritative powers to tangibly improve our area and ward-off detrimental development. One might add that it was because of the apparent failings of the council that we saw fit to form our own collective in response. Finally, I would sharply remind them that they are, by definition, public servants who are supported by public money; we on the other hand work on a voluntary basis and are not paid to fulfil duties full-time. Indeed, since these people are servants, they would be mistaken to believe that they have any given right to belittle us as members of the public.

So, in brief:

  • Don’t tolerate your local politicians and representatives who have an attitude problem.
  • Don’t let them scrutinise and pick apart your credibility as an organisation—ring them up on their credibility as servants to their community (the very thing which represents their livelihood).
  • If you are bold enough, explain that it is because of their failure to represent the people in the past that you are here representing them today.
  • If you are bold and smart enough, dissect their decision-making process and compare it against their own drafted policy on the matter, using quotations to demonstrate their hypocrisy but all the while making sure that your quotes are relevant to the case.

You might consider reading Arthur Schopenhauer’s The Art of Being Right (1831) in preparation.

— Gavril Postnikov

Excellent and well written analysis by Gavril Postnikov of the workings of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor and the contempt they have for the local community.

The ignorant jobsworths and councillors tend to forget, they are there to serve the local community, not the other way around.

Farnburger

October 23, 2013
Farnburger twinned with McDonald's

Farnburger twinned with McDonald’s

Farnburger, The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, twinned with McDonald’s.

Excellent subvert, for the McTown of Farnburger.

Three weeks ago, the McCouncil of Rushmoor, granted planning permission to demolish The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The Tumbledown Dick: A pack of lies from Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

October 21, 2013
Farnborough past 1915

Farnborough past 1915

Over the last few days, we have received a large number of comments and queries about the Tumbledown Dick on our Facebook page. We cannot respond to all of these individually but have summarised our position below. We have also removed some of the more inappropriate postings.

There have been a number of accusations on this page that someone at the Council has received a finder’s fee from McDonald’s. This is not true. No member of staff or Councillor from Rushmoor Borough Council has received any money from McDonald’s. We understand that in some circumstances, McDonald’s do make payments to private agents but this does not include individuals or Councils.

There have been some postings here suggesting that the Council should have considered alternative options and uses for the Tumbledown Dick. However, the Council does not, and has never, owned the building and therefore any proposals for alternative use should have been directed to the owners, Bride Hall. The Council’s role was as the planning authority and therefore we were obliged by law to judge the merits of the planning application that was submitted to us and not other suggested alternatives.

We would like to reassure you that we have a strong and robust planning process. Many of the comments posted here are not a fair representation of how the Council and its Councillors approached the difficult task of considering such a contentious planning application. Neither the Council nor its Councillors were ‘held to ransom’ by Bride Hall.

When consultation is carried out as part of the planning process, it is the content of the representations rather than the quantity that carries weight. The report that was considered by the Development Control Committee on 9 October, listed, examined and analysed every response received during the consultation process and explained how they were considered. A copy of this report is available on our website at http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/tumbledown

The only financial benefit to the Council would be from any increase in the business rates – where the Council would normally retain 40%. There will also be section 106 developers’ contributions in relation to highway improvements, which are passed to Hampshire County Council and can only be used for works made necessary as a result of the proposed development.

As a Council, we have been in regular contact with Bride Hall since the public house closed to try to ensure that the building remained safe and did not fall into disrepair. The extent of the powers which the Council has for making a private individual or company do certain things to their property are limited, but we have used those at our disposal to try and ensure its survival. We have always been keen to see the site brought back into use as an important part of the overall regeneration of Farnborough. However, it is up to the owners or those with other interests in the site to make proposals for how it might be developed.

At the request of local campaigners, English Heritage did consider the Tumbledown Dick for ‘listing’ but following their assessment concluded that from the evidence available, it lacked the special architectural and historical interest required to qualify for listing. A full copy of this assessment is available on our website http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/tumbledown.

On the issue of health, we did seek legal advice on the relevance of this matter to the planning application for two main reasons. The first was because many people had raised it in their response to the consultation and we wanted clear guidance on the appropriate weight, which could be given to it. The second was so that we could give correct advice to the Committee members on what the Courts had to say on this issue. We seek legal advice in circumstances where we need guidance. We do not, as suggested, commission a legal opinion as a way of supporting a particular outcome or to enable us to ignore something, which is clearly of importance to many people.

On the matter of litter, as part of the planning application (available at http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/publicaccess – application reference 13/00512/FULPP) Mcdonald’s submitted details of their policy for dealing with litter. As with all businesses should litter become a problem, there is action that the Council can take.

— Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

Posted on their facebook page by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, this is a classic for the Joseph Goebbels School of Management: Post a big enough lie, repeat it often enough, and it will be believed.

Only problem is, it is not working.

At the planning meeting, where a pack of lies was told, where councillors (with the honourable exceptions of Alan Chainey and Frank Rust) had not a clue what they were talking about, the local community were treated with arrogant contempt. Now, the local community are being treated as a bunch of fools.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

If this pack of lies is the best the Council can do, it is easy to see why they lose at Planning Inquiries, why they are found wanting when subject to the scrutiny of a Judicial Review.

McDonald’s pays a ‘finder’s fee’. Questions have been raised in Parliament on this malpractice. Maybe the Fat Clown would like to enlighten us and name who has claimed £20,000 for The Tumbledown Dick.

To suggest the Council has ‘a strong and robust planning process’ has to be seen as a sick joke, unless we are referring to how the Council falls over backwards to appease developers, no matter how bad the scheme (and we have seen plenty of bad schemes approved), then the local community would concur.

The scrutiny took place by the local community, not the planning department, not the councillors, and the community found the scheme wanting, the local community found there were many robust grounds on which to reject the scheme, but none of this was conveyed to the committee, all the committee saw was sound bites.

The committee should exercise due diligence and scrutiny, with the honourable exception of Alan Chainey and Frank Rust, this they singularly failed to do do. What we saw on display was an appalling degree of ignorance, we heard tittle-tattle, hearsay, half truths, lies and personal prejudice. We saw appalling chairing of the meeting by Gareth Lyon, we saw an Agenda that was so one-sided and biassed that it read as a PR exercise for McDonald’s.

It is the role of the Council as the planning authority, to consider the merit of the application. The application had no merit. It should therefore had been rejected.

It was claimed several times, Bride Hall were holding the Council to ransom. When Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum showed their faces in the Tilly Shilling they claimed Bride Hall was bullying the Council, and that was why they had to vote for McDonald’s.

As everyone was singing from the same song sheet, it begs the question who was briefing on the Council being held to ransom by Bride Hall?

The building has fallen into serious disrepair due to wilful neglect. The Council has done nothing to rectify the situation. The Council was asked to serve enforcement action. The Council refused to do so.

The Council could at any time have served a Compulsory Purchase Order on The Tumbledown Dick. They declined to do so.

It is ludicrous the statement that a Drive-Thru McDonald’s can be seen as part of the regeneration of Farnborough or the equally ludicrous statement made at the planning committee good for Farnborough, saving the building.

The town centre was not in need of regeneration, until it was trashed by St Modwen, aided and abetted by the Council. The Drive-Thru will drain money out of the local economy, cause traffic congestion pollution and litter, increase healthcare costs. It will generate 65 low-paid, part-time, de-skilled, zero-hours McJobs.

English Heritage were asked to list the building. They found the building to have merit, but did not list, not because the building lacked merit, but because they only list a representative sample, and they already have a large number of pubs listed. For a pub to be listed, it would have to have something exceptional to gain a listing.

The lack of listing by English Heritage should not be seen as meaning the building lacks heritage value, as some are falsely trying to claim. Or as we saw from John Marsh and have seen from Farnborough Society, complete and utter garbage as to the age of the building.

The Council does not like accusations of corruption. Why then seen as corrupt in the eyes of the public?

Could it be because the planning officials fall over backwards to force through a planning application on behalf of a developer, even where it can be clearly shown the scheme is prejudicial to the interests of the town and the local community and where there are more than sufficient planning grounds on which to reject?

Could it be because the local community sees planning officials blatantly lying to push through unwanted schemes on behalf of developers?

Officials blatantly lied when they said no problems litter, traffic congestion, antisocial behaviour at Farnborough Gate.

Nor is this a one off for The Tumbledown Dick. It has happened on many other planning applications.

For Firgrove Parade, told trees were in an unhealthy condition and at the end of their lives, adequate parking etc. This was completely at odds with internal e-mails from the previous year. The committee were mislead into believing they were dealing with a tree report from their own useless tree officer, when they were dealing with a tree report from Bride Hall. A tree report, that although crucial, was not included in the Agenda. The trees were not in an unhealthy condition.

One only has to read the Rotten Boroughs column in Private Eye (a must read) to see the extent of corruption in local councils up and down the country. Are we to believe Rushmoor is the exception, despite what we see with our own eyes?

Long overdue is a comprehensive independent investigation into the planning department. The head of planning is unfit to hold public office and should resign.

It is perverse the Council should seek legal advice (at our expense) on health as a material planning matter, because large numbers of people raised this. It is nonsense to say the Council was not acting to circumvent planning policies, as that is exactly what the Council was doing.

Only now are we told why, that large numbers of people had objected on health. Why was the committee not told? Why was the committee not told these objections had come from the Milestone Surgery (opposite the site), from local doctors, from a Retired Naval Surgeon, from two local headteachers?

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!!

Nor were the committee told of a recent Public Health England report which 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

The committee were asked to act on legal advice they had not seen, were not told why it was requested.

What were the questions asked? Of who were they asked? Who gave the legal advice? What is that legal advice? All this information should be placed in the public domain. It should have been placed in the public domain before the committee met, and been included as an Appendix to the Agenda.

The committee can only act on evidence put before them. They were asked to act on legal advice that they had never seen. This legal opinion, was presented to them by a planning official, not a legal officer.

No information was given to the committee on what the Courts had said.

No information was given to the committee on how litter was to be dealt with, other than a senior executive from McDonald’s claiming there was not a problem.

Across the country, including Farnborough Gate, and across the world, there is a problem with McDonald’s and litter.

At the McLibel Trial, evidence was presented and accepted, that McDonald’s a major source of litter.

The simplest way to deal with the litter is to stop it at source, ie do not grant planning permission for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. The other way is to charge McDonald’s for dealing with their litter.

But we heard nothing on how this problem was to be tackled, because it was claimed there was no problem.

The post by Rushmoor, very quickly attracted over 100 comments, all of them negative towards Rushmoor, then known local trolls jumped in. These commnets in turn, raised points Rushmoor had failed to address either in their facebook post, or at the planning meeting.

Although not mentioned in the facebook post by Rushmoor, Asset of Community Value was another planning matter Rushmoor sought legal advice to circumvent. Drawing on the Localism Act, whatever legal advice Rushmoor was given, it is more or less worthless, as the Localism Act is too new to have been tested in the Courts, there is no case law to draw upon, and it is only now, ACV is being challenged in the Courts. Indeed, The Tumbledown Dick will be one of those early challenges.

Asset of Community Value, only kicks in, if the building comes up for sale, but that does not mean ACV status should be ignored in planning, nor can we say (as Keith Holland falsely claimed) it will not come up for sale within the next ten years.

ACV means the local community has first refusal, should The Tumbledown Dick come up for sale. Six months are then available in which to raise the money.

A pub protection policy, cf the excellent pub protection policies in Islington and Cambridge, the pub would have to be put on the market as a pub, free of pubco ties.

Gerald Howarth stitched up a dirty little deal behind the backs of the local community. Party to that deal were the three ward councillors, two of who were on the committee and spoke and voted in favour of McDonald’s.

McDonald’s could not have razed the building to the ground as it would have been contrary to the policy on local listed buildings. It is a moot point that McDonald’s can part demolish and be compliant with the policy.

What is likely to happen, is the entire building gets ‘accidentally’ demolished, or is found to be structurally unsound, and has to go. With the Council sitting idly by and claiming there is nothing they can do, as they did with the wilful neglect.

The three ward councillors could not contain their joy that the deal they had brokered with McDonald’s was the one they then approved at planning committee.

Contrast Gerald Howarth with Sadiq Khan MP. Sadiq Khan worked very hard on behalf of the local community, to stop Tesco destroying The Wheatsheaf at Tooting Bec. Maybe Gerald Howarth was hoping for a retainer, as he receives from a payday loan company. He has in the past, been pictured promoting McDonald’s.

John Wall is as ignorant on planning as he is on other matters. A known local troll and not worth wasting the time of day on.

To reiterate, health is a material planning consideration. In Rushmoor, health is dire even when compared with the national levels of health, but our Council cares so much for the health of the local population, they seek legal advice at our expense, to ignore health as a planning matter.

The number of car parking spaces for the Drive-Thru, does not meet Council policy. If it does not meet, then ignore as inconvenient.

The same stance was taken for the car parking for the Premier Inn and Beefeater Grill for Firgrove Green. Only seven car parking spaces. Council policy, dictated to Bride Hall last year was for a considerable higher number. Response from Bride Hall was not acceptable, so policy was ignored.

A Drive-Thru is a drive through, people drive there (one reason they are clinically obese).

A 202-seat restaurant (plus outside seating area), assume two persons per car (that is the average occupancy of cars on the road), that gives over one hundred cars if the restaurant is full.

The Drive-Thru will have roughly 30 car-parking spaces, Council policy roughly 60 car-parking spaces.

Er Farnborough, we have a problem!

An independent traffic survey was carried out. The planning committee was not even made aware of this, let alone saw its findings.

The view of local taxi drivers is that the A325 cannot handle the extra traffic from a Drive-Thru at this location.

The committee was told, no problem at Farnborough Gate.

The committee was fed some nonsense the cars would already be on the network.

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 – http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk

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.

Councillors vote to destroy The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s

October 14, 2013

Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt. — Mark Twain

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. — Benjamin Franklin

When you watch this video of a planning committee meeting that took place at the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor Wednesday night of last week (Wednesday 9 October 2013), you can see why the smug arrogant head of planning Keith Holland refused to live stream the meeting over the net, and why he also refused to record how councillors voted.

We saw Wednesday night, councillors prostituting themselves for McDonald’s, with planning officials acting as their pimps.

Before watching the video, you may wish to read a critique of the planning Agenda, which was so baissed and pro-McDonald’s, that it read as a PR exercise for McDonald’s.

You may also wish to reflect on the fact that someone within the Council, has claimed £20,000 from McDonald’s, that is, someone within the Council had a vested interest in this being pushed through.

Note how the councillors batting for McDonald’s, are all singing from the same song sheet.

First speaker is Rod Cooper. He complains The Tumbledown Dick is in very poor state of repair. This is correct, there are holes in the roof, water is pouring into the building every time it rains. The building is in poor state of repair due to wilful neglect by offshore tax dodger Bride Hall. No one mentions the fact that the Council has refused to enforce repairs.

Where were they five years ago when the pub was initially closed? Could it be they were outside protesting at its closure?

Tumbledown Dick demo 2008

Tumbledown Dick demo 2008

Ignorance of Rod Cooper. Health, obesity and fast food restaurants are material planning consideration. Islington has this built into their Local Plan, unlike the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, a backward local council with clowns as councillors, which does not, which possibly explains the very high number of fast food outlets and the appalling local health statistics, especially on obesity.

The A325, into which the Drive-Thru feeds, is already over capacity, at peak times stationary or at walking pace.

Rod Cooper insults those who fought hard to save The Tumbledown Dick, who are far better informed than he, and yet he takes great exception when later that evening they refer to him and fellow councillors as scum, along the lines of ‘look what the cat has brought in, they have got a bloody nerve’ And no, contrary to the malicious lies now being spread, these councillors were not subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse. Indeed, considering how the public were treated by their elected representatives and how uspset folk were, it is amazing people managed to remain calm and polite.

Far from ward councillors and local Member of Parliament working hard on behalf of the local community as Rod Cooper falsely claims, they went behind the backs of the local community and behind closed doors, stitched up a dirty little deal with McDonald’s to demolish the Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. It is this grubby little deal, the councillors are doing their best to push through.

The day before the meeting, Gerald Howarth MP posted on his website what most have referred to as a load of bollocks, but then no one expected anything better from Howarth. What has surprised people is what David Clifford posted on his blog the following day, gloating at the result, it was so bad, many thought it to be a parody.

The post by Gerald Howarth exposed him as a hypocrite, as it contradicted with what he had said last year.

Demolishing the building is not bringing it back into use. George Orwell would be proud of this use of newspeak.

To the left of Rod Cooper (to the right as viewed) sits committee vice chairman Brian Thomas. He has declared in his Register of Member’s Interest, he is a pub landlord. He should have declared an interest and left the room. Not only did he fail to do so, not only did he remain, but he voted. This one act alone is more sufficient to have the vote declared null and void.

Publican and Landlord of La Fontaine Public House, 92 Windmill Road, Aldershot, Hants, GU12 4NJ

Sainsbury’s are referred to as a landowner who will not let access through (to the McDonald’s).

Er, why should they? Why should McDonald’s let their car park be a site of antisocial behaviour, litter, for the customers of McDonald’s?

John Marsh, congratulates Rod Cooper on going in to bat first (on behalf of McDonald’s). After all we are all for one, one for all, standing standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Roland McDonald against the great unwashed occupying the public gallery.

John Marsh goes on to show his appalling lack of comprehension of local heritage. He thinks the Fast Museum, Wind Tunnel, Farnborough Abbey are older than The The Tumbledown Dick. No attempt is made to correct him, or his later statement there is no evidence as to the age of The Tumbledown Dick.

Public try to correct the garbage from Marsh, and are told to keep quiet by the chairman.

Begs the question the source of garbage spouted by Marsh, possibly The Farnborough Society, or made up on the spot, either is equally likely.

How generous, the chairman is allowing the public to attend the meeting.

The public have a right to attend.

Marsh demonstrates that he has not even bothered to read the 590 objections. Objection were made on many grounds, that it was a McDonald’s was one of these objections, on multiple counts. Clearly McDonald’s were going to be the focus of objection in that they were the planning applicant.

Marsh peddles the same nonsense as Rod Cooper, health is not a planning matter.

Health is a planning matter, local councils have been directed by government that health is a planning matter, Islington has health and fast food built into their Local Plan, but the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor have ignorant cretins like Marsh who sit on a planning committee and know nothing about planning.

No attempt is made to correct Marsh.

Locally, poor health statistics, but who cares when when we can rail against Nanny State and blame Bad Parents.

A recent Public Health England report which 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

Marsh falsely claims there is no alternative for the site. The local community wish to buy the pub, it is listed as an Asset of Community Value but Bride Hall are refusing to sell, they would rather sell the site for redevelopment.

Demolishing the building for an unwanted Drive-Thru McDonald’s does not bring it back into use.

Alan Chainey: Inadequate parking, does not meet local planning policy, highlights local traffic congestion, highlights existing traffic problems at Farnborough Gate. Calls on Bride Hall to carry out the necessary repairs on the building and bring it back into use, or if not willing to do that, then sell to the local community as an Asset of Community Value. Turning The Tumbledown Dick into a fast food restaurant is totally inappropriate. Will not be supporting this application.

Chairman refers Alan Chainey to officials to comment. Unlike previous speakers who came out with total garbage, where no referral to officials to comment, no attempt to correct lies, half truths and what amounted to little more than personal prejudice (and that is even when they remained on topic).

Car parking policy is dismissed out of hand. No requirement for McDonald’s to comply. In the Agenda, it is suggested users of the Drive-Thru should park elsewhere in the town and walk to the McDonald’s, entirely missing the point that it is a Drive-Thru. Rely on McDonald’s for advice to ignore council policy on car parking.

We should not forget, that when the same committee in the summer rubber-stamped the destruction of Firgrove Parade and cutting down of healthy trees for an ugly 80-bed Premier Inn hotel with a Beefeater Grill on the ground floor, 7 car parking spaces were deemed adequate, with everyone expected to park in the town centre.

Nor should we forget that the reason there is spare car parking capacity on the town, is because this committee with its past crass planning decisions, has systematically destroyed the town centre.

The official who is talking nonsense on car parks, is the idiot who a couple of years ago installed parking charging in North Camp (until then free parking) which had a detrimental impact on the small businesses in North Camp.

Official claims traffic generated not a problem. To talk of almost 90 vehicles an hour, as one and half vehicles per minute at peak time, is extremely misleading, as assumes the vehicles are evenly spread out. The probability of which approaches zero.

Local taxi drivers are of the view the road cannot cope.

Roundabouts are at or near capacity. The A325 is stationary or at walking pace during peak times late afternoon.

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

What is important is not that the number of extra vehicles is low compared with peak flow, but whether those few extra vehicles are sufficient to reach a tipping point, and the local network gridlocks.

Brian Parker comes across as a blithering idiot. He starts off by asking what ages were those in the audience five years ago? This has no relevance, and the chairman should should have immediately brought him to order. No intervention by the clueless chairman. Parket is ridiculed by the public gallery, but no intervention by the chairman other than to demand the public be quiet.

Parker falsely claims The Tumbledown Dick was shut down due to lack of use. Shouts from the public, no attempt at correction by chairman or officials.

Parker claims the food was atrocious. Did he ever eat there? Of no relevance to planning application. Still no intervention by the chairman. He claims the food was bad, but welcomes McDonald’s.

For some reason what his grandson had to say, is of relevance.

He is against The Tumbledown Dcik re-opening, because of what two old ladies he met in Victorian Road told him.

If they fear, as he claims, the pub re-opening, then they are going to get a shock when a Drive-Thru McDonald’s opens with its anti-social behaviour and litter.

Parker a laughing stock.

Excellent presentation by Frank Rust on health and obesity. He emphasises that obesity is a big problem, cites local polices and has been instrumental in drawing them up. He is not against fast food per se, as there is good fast food, he is against junk food. He is appalled that the Agenda says little weight should be given to health, he says great weight should be given. He is a school governor of a school in Aldershot whose intake is a deprived area, major problems with obesity. He cites the government statistics on obesity, type 2 diabetes, self esteem, employment practice. More than half the population overweight or obese. The cost to the National Health runs into billions of pounds. On health aspects alone, cannot support the application.

Note: For Rushmoor the health statistics are worse than the national average.

Diane Bedford waffles, says she does not like McDonald’s, wants to save The Tumbledown Dick, and yet when the vote is taken, she votes for McDonald’s.

As with Alan Chainey, chairman refers Frank Rust to officials for comments.

Unbelievable, Keith Holland admits, that because they had so many objections on health, the Council took legal advice to see if possible to ignore health as a planning matter!

No one, not a single councillor, questions why taxpayers money is being spent to see how to circumvent health as a planning matter to aid a planning applicant McDonald’s known for the contribution it makes to obesity and poor health.

Keith Holland notes the site is classed as within the town centre where there are already a large number of fast food outlets. Reasons for not granting planning consent for one more, but perversely this is seen as grounds for granting permission for yet another, not only another, but one whose capacity will exceed that of all the others combined.

He misleads by saying no planning required for change of use to a restaurant, but omits, planning is required for Drive-Thru. He also fails to mention, if Article Four Direction was issued, all planning permission for the site could be quashed, and an application would have to be made for a restaurant.

He lies when he says not in close proximity to a school. It is in close proximity to St Peter’s.

Committee are told to ignore health as a planning matter, based on legal advice no one has seen, that has not been placed in the public domain, that is not presented to the committee by a legal officer, eg borough or acting borough solicitor.

The planning committee has a quasi-legal function, it can only reach a decision based on evidence put before it, which can also be seen and challenged by others. They are asked to act on legal advice that no one has seen, that is not published in the Agenda, that has not been placed in the public domain.

Roland Dibbs blatantly lies to the committee, claiming every time he went by, there was a police van outside. If, as Dibbs infers, there was such much trouble at The Tumbledown Dick, it would have lost its licence.

Dibbs, as well as talking garbage, comes across as a cultural Philistine. He objects that there is the West End Centre in Aldershot, which is heavily subsidised, therefore we do not need The Tumbledown Dick in Farnborough.

We have a commercial cinema in Aldershot. Why therefore do we need a commercial cinema in Farnborough, a commercial cinema to which the Council is subsidising with taxpayers money?

No one has asked for a pubic subsidy to run The Tumbledown Dick.

Lies from Dibbs, but no intervention by chairman.

Dibbs dismisses the traffic concerns.

Dibbs claims McDonald’s has a reputation for clearing up rubbish. Obviously he has never walked outside a McDonald’s. At the McLibel Trial, evidence showed the problems McDonald’s causes with litter. And their burger boxes are not recyclable.

Marsh has a second bat on behalf of McDonald’s. He asks why was the building refused a listing by English Heritage. Keith Holland answers in his summing up.

Chairman thanks officers for a very thorough report. Must be his idea of a sick joke, it was as thorough as his chairing of the meeting and read as a PR exercise for McDonald’s. He claims there has been a worthwhile democratic debate. Er, no, we heard garbage from councillors who did not know what they were talking about who clearly had not read the representations made by the public, who showed contempt for the public. Councillors who were a disgrace. The honourable exceptions were Alan Chainey and Frank Rust.

Unbelievable the claim from chairman Gareth Lyon that the officers and their report had not shown bias. He clearly had not bothered to read the detailed analysis by the local community.

Scrupulously fair and honest report from officers. Ha, ha ha.

A building at risk being retained. Er no, it is being demolished.

Summing up by unelected planning Keith Holland. He claims demolishing the building is saving it. No mention that the Council policy on building of local importance is that cannot be demolished.

Legal advice was sought to ignore that the building is an Asset of Community Value. This has not been tested in Court. Legal advice not presented by a legal officer, ie borough or acting borough solicitor

Legal advice that no one has seen, that has not been put in the public domain.

Issues raised by objectors, were not put before the committee.

Laughable that a Drive-Thru McDonald’s will contribute to the regeneration of the town centre.

The Tumbledown Dick would have contributed to the regeneration, a Drive-Thru McDonalds will not, it will drain money out of the local economy.

The only reason the town centre is in a dire state, is past crass decisions forced through by Keith Holland on behalf of developers.

The councillors voted seven to three to trash The Tumbledown Dick.

John Marsh, Roland Dibbs, Diane Bedford, Rod Cooper, Brian Parker spoke against The Tumbledown Dick.

Alan Chainey and Frank Rust spoke very eloquently and were the only ones who knew what they were talking about, were in support of The Tumbledown Dick.

Unlike their colleagues who were a disgrace, Alan Chainey and Frank Rust did their homework and exercised due diligence and scrutiny.

Later that evening, two of these clowns Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, had the nerve to appear in the Tilly Shilling. They were asked to explain their disgraceful behaviour. Their pathetic excuse, was that they were lay people and did not know what was going on (as apparent when Rod Cooper opens his mouth), and could only vote how they are told to vote by officials. In which case, why are they on the committee?

Tumbledown Dick group ran a very good campaign. They will equally run a very good campaign to rid the council of councillors who show arrogant contempt for the local community, and who forget whose interests they are elected to serve, and it is not the Fat Clown.