Posts Tagged ‘The Tumbledown Dick’

Tragedy for The Tumbledown Dick

October 9, 2013
planning meeting

planning meeting

Rushmoor this evening lived up to its name as the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor when the dysfunctional planning committee voted 7 to 3 to demolish the c 1720s Tumbledown Dick, a popular live music venue, for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Before the meeting, the head of planning had demonstrated his arrogant contempt for the local community by refusing to live stream the meeting over the net, make adequate arrangements for the numbers wishing to attend. The planning agenda read like PR propaganda for McDonald’s.

The meeting was packed, the venue not adequate for the numbers who attended. The screens were not visible to everyone. The Farnborough News was filming. Hopefully they will upload all their footage to the net to enable everyone to see the disgraceful behaviour of the committee members, bar two.

Excellent presentation by Fran Beauchamp to REJECT the application from McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

McDonald’s sent a senior executive to address the meeting. He claimed McDonald’s provided good training, excellent job prospects, would create 65 jobs maybe 100 jobs and that McDonald’s was good for Farnborough. He claimed McDonald’s was good for local communities. He claimed McDonald’s cleared litter from the local vicinity. He failed to mention the 65 jobs were part-time, minimum wage, zero hours contacts. He failed to mention the externalisation of health costs, the cost to society of dealing with obesity, type 2 diabetes. His litter patrols would appear to miss a lot of litter.

The committee was told legal advice had been obtained, to ignore planning policy. No one questioned why such perverse action, waste of public money. No one asked to see the legal advice, to ask that it be put in the pubic domain.

The committee has to act on the evidence put before the committee. They were asked to act on legal advice they had never seen, did not know where it had come from, or who had given it. No one asked that the legal advice be put into the public domain.

The legal advice sought was to ignore that health is a material planning consideration and to ignore that The Tumbledown Dick is an Asset of Community Value.

The councillors who spoke, with the exception of the two who spoke against the application, did not have a clue what they were talking about, and often rambled about stuff that was of no relevance.

The councillors who spoke in favour of McDonald’s, clearly did not know what they were talking about (and often blatantly lied), had not bothered to read submissions from the public.

It was claimed a police van was often parked outside The Tumbledown Dick, that it was not viable and was not very busy or popular, that there was a problem with noise and antisocial behaviour.

John Marsh was as always a disgrace. He showed arrogant contempt for the local community. He claimed health and obesity were not a planning issue.

It was referred to that The Tumbledown Dick was sitting derelict. This is not only the fault of Bride hall, is also the fault of the Council for refusing to serve enforcement notice.

Councillor Alan Chainey spoke about the traffic and on several other issues. Councillor Frank Rust spoke on health. These were the only two councillors who knew what they were talking about and said they would vote against. These were the only two who seemed to know what they were talking about.

When Alan Chainey and Frank Rust spoke, eloquently and well informed, their comments were referred by the chairman to planning officials to comment on. This was not done for councillors who spoke in favour of McDonald’s, no matter how ill-informed or inaccurate their comments, no attempt was made to correct, the only correction came from shouts from the public, who were immediately told to keep quiet.

Milestone Surgery across the road from the site had an application to expand rejected on the grounds of traffic. The committee was told by officials traffic from the Drive-Thru would have no impact, it was even claimed it would not generate traffic, it would be cars passing by which would drive in.

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

Fact: The traffic on this stretch of the A325, a major arterial highway at peak times is stationary or walking pace, it backs up from the roundabout to the next roundabout.

It was claimed there was no traffic problems at Farnborough Gate, the location of a Drive-Thru McDonald’s a mile up the road.

Fact: Traffic backs up from Farnborough Gate onto the A325, this in turn backs up down the slip road leading off the Blackwater Valley Road.

The committee were told to ignore health issues, because legal advice had been obtained. Legal advice no one has seen, has not been placed in the public domain. Were told to ignore that Islington has health as a planning consideration when determining the location of of fast food outlets. The committee was told to ignore the health issue of fast foods, as people could exercise.

The committee was not told that local doctors, a retired naval surgeon, two local head teachers had 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!!

Nor was mention made 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

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

Councillor Frank Rust spoke eloquently on health, he referred to lots of policies and statistics, the obesity epidemic at a local school, the rise in Type 2 diabetes. Obesity was not only a weight problem, it led to low self-esteem, poor performance at school, low job prospects, mental health problems.

His comments were dismissed out of hand by official as not relevant, as little weight should be placed on health.

Councillor John Marsh demonstrated his level of ignorance, by stating health was not a planning issues, referred to a Nanny State, and it was the responsibility of parents if kids were fat.

Roland Dibbs came out with the perverse comment, that he could not see a need for a live music venue in Farnborough, when there was the West End Centre in Aldershot. And for good measure he objected to the West End Centre receiving public subsidy.

Fact: Aldershot is not Farnborough. The Tumbledown Dick never received public subsidy when it ran as a popular live music venue. The local community are not seeking public subsidy to run The Tumbledown Dick as a live music venue.

Fact: The Barn in Farnham, West End Centre in Aldershot, The Tumbledown Dick in Farnborough, would establish a network of live music venues, cultural art centres, running through the Blackwater Valley. Musicians need venues to play, artists need exhibition space.

If Dibbs cannot see a need for a live music venue in Farnborough, when there is one in Aldershot, then why is there a need for a multiplex cinema in Farnborough when there is one in Aldershot, and why is public money being used to subsidise a commercial cinema in Farnborough?

Note: Originally reported that Marsh made the comments on West End Centre and no need for a live music venue in Farnborough. It was Dibbs, and this has now been corrected.

And to reinforce that he is a blathering imbecile, Marsh claimed Farnborough Abbey, Fast Museum and the Airship Hanger were older than The Tumbledown Dick. And if the public had not yet got the message Marsh was a complete moron, he claimed there was no evidence for the age of The Tumbledown Dick.

No attempt was made to correct what Marsh or Dibbs had said, the chairman did not ask the officials to comment. The only time the chairman asked the officials to comment, was when a councillor spoke in favour of The Tumbledown Dick.

Most of the time, those who spoke in favour of McDonald’s rambled on matters of no relevance. One fool, wanted to know what age were the people in the public gallery when they visited The Tumbledown Dick! When councillors rambled off topic, no attempt was made by the chairman to bring them to order.

Tumbledown Dick demo 2008

Tumbledown Dick demo 2008

One of the dumb questions of absolutely no relevance to the planning application was where were the objectors in 2008 when The Tumbledown Dick closed? Could it be outside The Tumbledown Dick at a demo at its closure? Not that we would expect councillors to know this as they seem to be pretty clueless as to what actually goes on in Farnborough, let alone what people want. Though they seem to know what developers want (and be happy to give it to them).

The chairing of the meeting was appalling. The chairman was nothing but a puppet, with head of planning Keith Holland (an official) pulling his strings and all the time whispering in his ear, telling him what to say, how to think.

The committee was repeatedly told, a Drive-Thru McDonald’s was what Farnborough wanted.

Fact: 590 people sent in written objections, several thousand signed two petitions to object.

In what was a classic example of newspeak (George Orwell would have been proud), the committee was repeatedly told by head of planning Keith Holland demolishing The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s would save the building, help retain local heritage, that it was bringing the building back into use.

Whilst it is true, bringing a heritage building back into use, is the best way to safeguard a building, its demolition is not.

The best way to safeguard The Tumbledown Dick is to bring it back into use as a pub, live music venue, local community arts and cultural centre, which is what the local community wishes to do, but they are being denied the opportunity.

The Tumbledown Dick is listed as a building of local historical importance. It is contrary to that policy to demolish a locally listed building. No reference was made to the policy.

The committee were instructed by Keith Holland to ignore that The Tumbledown Dick was listed as an Asset of Community Value. Legal advice had been sought because the Localism Act was new legislation. No one has seen the legal advice. It has not been tested in Court. Thus worthless.

John Marsh praised local ward councillors and local Member of Parliament Gerald Howarth for the hard work they had done to save The Tumbledown Dick. Gerald Howarth posted similar bollocks on his website the day before.

Fact: Gerald Howarth and the ward councillors went behind the backs of the local community and stitched up a behind closed doors dirty little deal with McDonald’s. It was that dirty deal that Marsh and other low life scum councillors were determined to rubber-stamp.

When the local community tried to have a meeting with local councillors to discuss the future of The Tumbledown Dick, that meeting was vetoed by an official with the Orwellian title of Head of Democratic Services. You could not make it up if you tried. It also exposed the lie from Marsh and his cronies, that the local community had not done anything.

Why has the local community not done anything, was repeated by several of the councillors batting for McDonald’s.

Attempts to talk to developer Bride Hall, to discuss or negotiate the sale of The Tumbledown Dick have also been refused.

It is known, someone within the Council is claiming a fee of £20,000 from McDonald’s for this scheme. Who, we do not know as McDonald’s will not say. Someone within the Council had a vested interest in seeing these plans approved.

A year ago, in an exchange of e-mails (dated 27 April 2012), Rotten Borough of Rushmoor chief executive Andrew Lloyd, then borough solicitor Karen Limmer and someone only identified as Richard, could not contain their glee at the news that McDonald’s were to acquire the site, subject to Rushmoor granting planning consent.

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!

Rushmoor are denying all Freedom of Information requests on their dealings with Bride Hall and McDonald’s. A matter the Information Commissioner must investigate and if necessary, bring a criminal prosecution.

Following the planning meeting, a couple of the councillors had the nerve to walk into the Tilly Shilling. They took exception to being referred to as scum, though it was pointed out to them, that was how they had referred to the clientele of The Tumbledown Dick.

There was an attempt to have a reasonable conversation with them, to try and understand why they had behaved the way they had, after all they are our elected representatives. They did not though stay to talk as they clearly felt intimidated, though it should be emphasized, no attempt was made to intimidate. All what was learnt, was that they were lay people, did not understand what was going on, and felt they had to vote how they were told by officials.

If they are not up to the job then they should not be on the committee.

In Guildford, councillors on the planning committee, know their way around the planning system, know planning policies, and do not have officials telling them how to vote.

In Waverley the planning officials say they do not tell councillors how to vote.

There should be an impartial presentation of facts. This is not happening in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor.

Where now?

There is probably grounds for a Judicial Review, the Secretary of State has been asked to look into what happened, how the meeting was conducted.

It is easy to see why it was not wished for the meeting to be live streamed over the net. Too many people to bear witness to the travesty that took place Wednesday night.

There should be an independent investigation into the dysfunctional planning department.

Head of planning Keith Holland should resign.

A boycott of McDonald’s?

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

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

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (10 October 2013).

Hypocrite: Sir Gerald Howarth MP

October 3, 2013

One of the few buildings in this part of Farnborough of architectural interest. — Sir Gerald Howarth MP

I think it would be a tragedy to sweep it away and replace it with some ghastly modern building. — Sir Gerald Howarth MP

The role of a Member of Parliament, once elected, is to act for his or her constituents, irrespective of party allegiance or how they casted their votes.

When The Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec was under threat by Tesco, Sadiq Khan MP held a meeting with the boss of Tesco and persuaded them to pull out of the deal. He then persuaded the pubco to keep Tooting Bec as a pub.

So what did Gerald Howarth do, especially in light of his recorded comments? Did he fight for The Tumbledown Dick in Farnborough, as Sadiq Kahn did for The Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec?

Er no. Gerald Howarth did nothing. Actually he did worse than nothing, it would have been better if he had done nothing.

Gerald Howarth went behind the backs of the local community and cut a back-door dirty little deal with McDonald’s whereby McDonald’s would demolish The Tumbledown Dick and replace with a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

These were the plans McDonald’s then submitted to the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor as a planning application, these are the plans the planning department of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is recommending that councillors approve at their planning meeting on 9 October 2013 (council offices, 7pm Wednesday 9 October 2013).

Objections from over 590 people ignored.

Over 5000 signatures on a petition ignored.

Many people who told Gerald Howarth no to McDonald’s ignored.

Planning grounds ignored:

  • on a busy dual highway adjacent to a major junction
  • demolition of a local building of historical importance
  • obesity
  • pollution
  • traffic generation
  • litter
  • antisocial behaviour
  • draining money out of local economy

Gerald Howarth may not act for the local community, but he does an excellent job pimping for unsavoury companies including McDonald’s, payday loan companies, arms dealers flogging weapons to repressive regimes …

Gerald Howarth dislikes his constituents so much that he blocks them from posting on his facebook page, but he was pleased to use it to tell the handful of people who bother to read (he has few facebook friends) that he was looking forward to the Tory shindig in Manchester as an opportunity to meet up with cronies and to promote a meeting of right wing nutters.

He obviously does not understand how social media or social networks works.

– social –> interaction

– network –> many to many

But then that would imply he was interested in the views of his local constituents, let alone representing them.

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

September 5, 2013
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:

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.

Focus on Farnborough

August 28, 2013
Farnborough talk by  Andrew Lloyd

Farnborough talk by Andrew Lloyd

Talk by Rushmoor chief executive Andrew Lloyd on Farnborough, past, present and future.

The talk was hosted and introduced by Farnborough Society. Much praise heaped on Lloyd for support of Farnborough Society and support for their Farnborough Festival.

Begs the question, what support, especially for Farnborough Festival, and for the latter, is it financial, if so how much?

Also begs the question is this a genuine civic society as they should be challenging what the local council is doing, and this they are singularly failing to do.

Much was made of how the Farnborough Society works hand-in-glove with the planning department to determine the outcome of planning applications.

Why does the Farnborough Society have this privileged access, as no one has appointed them to act on behalf of the local community?

Lloyd is past master at saying a lot without really saying anything. This talk was no exception, mainly demographics, economics, where money comes from and goes, but there were hidden little gems.

Population of Rushmoor approximately 80% white British, at least according to 2011 Census data.

Questionable data. Does not match what is seen on the street of Aldershot and gross underestimation of the number of Nepalese. This was admitted as it did not match data from other sources, for example schools.

Would Nepalese or other immigrants (especially illegals) fill out a Census form? Probably not. Many natives refused to fill out, as seen as a gross violation of personal privacy.

Farnborough of two halves. A run down town centre, high tech office development around the airport, and never the twain shall meet. Lack of interconnection given as an excuse. More likely no cause to venture into the town centre as nothing there.

Fluor was given as an example of a company that has moved into this office space. The reason (not given), they have been given a very good deal on low rents, and their previous leases have been bought out. When the deal ends, they are just as likely to leave as they could be based anywhere in Europe.

There are pockets of severe deprivation in Farnborough.

Much made of heritage legacy.

The Tumbledown Dick mentioned. Claimed Council does not wish it to be demolished.

If this be true, then the Council will reject the planning application from McDonald’s for a Drive-Thru. And why is the Council refusing to serve enforcement action on Bride Hall? There are holes in the roof, water is pouring through the roof each time it rains.

Asset of of Community Value means if the McDonald’s deal falls through, and if put up for sale, the local community has six months in which to get the money to buy. Bride Hall and Punch Taverns are both contesting ACV. Maybe a test case. The building is still leased to Punch Tavern and Punch are still paying the rent.

The McDonald’s planning application will be determined by the planning committee early October.

Much made of heritage legacy. Recognition of the need to find a use for redundant buildings, as that is the best way to safeguard their future. Possibility of buildings on the old RAE site being used for art exhibitions. And yet, The Tumbledown Dick barely mentioned in passing. Referred to as an eyesore. No mention of the fact it was a popular live music venue. No mention of the possibility of bringing it back to life as a locally run cultural centre, live music, art and many other possibilities.

Ownership of Princess Mead has changed hands (yet again). The new owners wish to expand Princess Mead, but do not wish to engage in speculative development. Lloyd cautioned against this, and was correct to do so. There is already too much retail space in Farnborough. To expand would simply lead to more empty retail units. He thought Farnborough Gate had been bad news for Farnborough. PC World are pulling out and relocating to Farnborough Gate.

Were Princess Mead to expand, it would build on the land currently occupied by the Tuesday market. This would deliver the final death blow to the market.

The Council has invested capital in the Vue cinema planned for Farnborough (due to open next year).

Why, how much, why is Rushmoor investing in a commercial chain?

It was claimed there are guarantees. What guarantees, what happens when Vue goes bust?

Why not invest in local businesses? Even to simply support them would make a pleasant change.

There will be restaurants associated with the cinema, and maybe more to come.

More tacky chains, more money drained out of the local economy.

Westgate (or Wastegate as local retailers call it) was hailed as a success, the restaurants always busy in the evening.

Success for who, how do you measure success? Certainly not a success for retailers in Aldershot town centre. The Westgate restaurants are empty during the day, and get very bad reviews on TripAdvisor. Every ten pounds spent in one of these chain eateries, is a ten pounds not spent in local restaurants, ten pounds drained out of local economy, ten pounds not circulating in the local economy. A disaster for a deprived area like Aldershot.

Footfall at Westgate is falling (good news if reflected in an upturn in the town centre). The manager of the recently opened cinema has admitted bums on seat will halve when the new cinema opens in Farnborough.

Big question mark on the viability of two multi-screen cinemas only a ten minute bus ride apart.

Like McDonald’s and Sports Direct, Vue is a bad employer, employing staff on zero-hour contracts. Should public money be used to bail out a bad employer, used to attract a bad employer to Farnborough? Or, at the very least, conditions set, employ staff at a living wage, no zero-hour contracts.

Should public money be used to bail out a commercial cinema chain for a cinema that is not otherwise commercially viable? And if it is commercially viable, why the public subsidy?

Emphasis on sustainable development.

Sustainable development is not what we are seeing in Farnborough. Cutting down trees, destroying only green space at Firgrove Parade is not sustainable development.

Destruction of green space at Firgrove Parade and loss of four local businesses was justified on the grounds that the building was looking tired and it fitted in with local plans.

Neither statement true. The building is looking tired due to failure of Bride Hall to maintain. One year before planning decision, view of planning department was green space important pedestrian access into town, an 80-bed Premier Inn was too big for the site and merely met the desire of the developer to make a fast buck and would bring the planning system into disrepute if approved.

Shame loss of four local businesses, but they are being looked after by the developer. Latter half of statement not true.

Need a night time economy, but not the booze driven economy of Fleet.

Lloyd expressed disquiet at the way KPI had developed the town centre.

It was claimed health statistics for Farnborough better than national average. Odd, as previously published data shows worse and at odds with later statement of problems with obesity. If problem with obesity, then last thing need is yet another fast food takeaway.

The town needs to be marketed more to potential inward investment.

Why? Why not instead focus on supporting existing local businesses? Other towns that support their local businesses have thriving town centres, for example Godalming, Farnham and Alton. But then these town take a civic pride in their towns, look after their heritage, which is more than can be said for Farnborough.

Rushmoor used to employ 700 staff, now employs 200. This will free up one whole floor, will be rented out to the Police and Hampshire. Will the public have access to the police? Not known. This is is seen as a multi-hub agency approach, ground breaking and innovative. Rushmoor finally catches up with where Curitiba was decades ago.

Rushmoor is to buy the empty police station for redevelopment. For what, not known. Will this encompass surrounding green space? Not said.

Brief break, then question and answers.

One lady expressed disgust at Queensmead, badly laid paving slabs, all uneven. A gentleman questioned why anyone would wish to visit Queensmead when nothing there and Farnham a far more attractive place to visit. A view echoed by by several others.

It was raised why was there no easy way to cross the Farnborough Road to access the town centre? An odd question, as there is an underpass and a pedestrian crossing. A more sensible question would have been why, when pressing the button to cross the road, a long delay before the lights change?

Problem with traffic, main road often at or near gridlocked. How then can a Drive-Thru McDonald’s feed onto this gridlocked system?

Why not free parking? This is to miss the point. Even with free parking, why would anyone wish to visit Farnborough town centre?

Lloyd then left, did not stay around to chat. Very discourteous for a speaker.

There followed a brief presentation for the Farnborough Festival.

The Farnborough Festival is to celebrate £1 million having been wasted on laying new paving slabs in Queensmead.

Forget 56,000 in Farnborough, there are 380,000 in near vicinity, and once word gets out, they will want to visit Farnborough, and that is why Farnborough Society is to hold the Farnborough Festival.

Office space has been allocated in one of the many vacant shop units. There may be all day parking at £1 to encourage people to visit (though this has not actually been confirmed). The innovative lighting was praised because it pointed skywards and would form the basis of a must see light show.

I have come across deluded people but this took the biscuit. Escapees from a lunatic asylum?

The paving of Queensmead is seen as an appalling waste of public money. The paving slabs offer nothing new to what was there before. They are poor quality and badly laid. The are very slippy when wet. There is inadequate drainage causing flooding when it rains. The lights do indeed point skywards, rather than lighting the street. No one heard of light pollution?

Volunteers were called for. That may have explained the mass exodus. Usually people stay to chat after a meeting but no, a hasty exit out the door.

If nothing else, appalling hypocrisy. Where was Farnborough Society fighting to save Firgrove Parade? Why are the Farnborough Society not fighting to save The Tumbledown Dick? It would provide an all year round live music venue, an art venue.

And where is the money coming from? Already there has been an attempt to blag money from Hampshire and this has been turned down.

Any private business approached for money would be wise to say no. Not unless they want the bad PR of being linked to the disaster that is the re-paving of Queensmead.

If the paving of Queensmead had been money well spent, had it been underspent and money left over then use to hold a festival. But to celebrate an appalling waste of public money, is an absolute disgrace.

Last year, Brian Fyfe, chairman of the Farnborough Society, had a bizarre letter in the Farnborough News. He claimed it was ok to demolish The Tumbledown Dick (one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough dating from the 1720s) and turn into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s as the heritage would be safeguarded of a sign was stuck up saying The Tumbledown Dick.

Contrast the bizarre letter, with a letter from the chairman of the Aldershot Civic Society published a couple of weeks ago in the Aldershot News condemning the developer boarding up the entrance to The Arcade and thus destroying the few remaining retailers.

At a recent council meeting, Barbara Hurst, Rushmoor councillor and secretary of the Farnborough Society, attacked The Tumbledown Dick. She is also believed to be the cowardly anonymous letter writer in the Farnborough News attacking supporters of The Tumbledown Dick and spreading misleading information relating to its history.

Destruction of The Tumbledown Dick by deliberate neglect

July 29, 2013
The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

What do you do when you are a greedy developer and a historical building, a building much valued by the local community, stands in your way of making a fast buck?

You have two options, one fast, one a little slower, but both lead to the same end.

You can torch the building, fast, leads to the desired result, but you may get caught. The second is to deliberately neglect the building, you may hasten this by ripping off the roof.

For The Tumbledown Dick, the second option has been chosen. The roof may not have been ripped off, but it might as well have been. A large number of slates and tiles are missing off the roof, leaving in places gaping holes, leading to ingress of water. This is now way passed needing replacing the odd slate or tile here or there. It needs the various roofs stripped back, and a new roofs laid, and all the damage caused by the ingress of water put right.

Responsible for this neglect is Bride Hall, but equally responsible is the local council for failing to carry out Section 215 enforcement action.

A planning application has been made submitted this week by McDonald’s to demolish most of the building and turn it into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

No surprise that of the documents supplied by McDonald’s to support their application to demolish part of the building state it is in poor state of repair, bad water damage and dry rot.

The Tumbledown Dick, as well as being much loved by the local community and a popular live music venue, is an Asset of Community Value and locally listed as a building of local historical importance

The Tumbledown Dick dates from the 16th century and predates Farnborough.

Bride Hall, in addition to doing there best to destroy The Tumbledown Dick, last week sent in tree contractors to cut down trees on Firgove Green.

Tumbledown Dick fundraising event

June 1, 2013
Sons of Icarus

Sons of Icarus

Sons of Icarus

Sons of Icarus

I would like to be able to say what the various acts were like, but cannot as it finished as I arrived.

I literally caught the last chord, of the last act, as I walked in.

The fundraiser at Agincourt in Camberley started around mid-afternoon, and I assumed would go on until some time into the early hours of the morning. I was wrong, It finished as I arrived.

On arrival, I found more people outside smoking, than was inside. Though at first I thought, must be popular, big queue to get in.

Earlier in the day, I was in Farnham. I got there later than intended, it was a lovely day, I sat in the churchyard, reading a book. I had late lunch in The Barn. I left Farnham later than intended. Only had time to get home, quick bath, change, and back out.

I am not used to anything finishing this early.

If a day event, then much better outside, though depends upon the weather.

I do not know how long would take to organise, but the bandstand in Aldershot, just off the town centre, plenty of publicity in the town the week before and on the day, start noon (or maybe early afternoon) and go on until 8pm. 8pm finish gives time to pack up in daylight, assuming held June or July.

Failing Aldershot, then the bandstand by the river in Farnham. This is actually a far more pleasant location than Aldershot. Finish at 8pm, but then continue with different live music around the town, venues like The William Cobbett and The Barn.

Donkey Derby 2012

May 27, 2013
Donkey Derby

Donkey Derby

Donkey Derby is an annual event that takes place last Bank Holiday Monday in May on George V Park in Farnborough.

I have only known one year when it did not take place and that was when the field was waterlogged. There was one year when it should not have taken place and heavy vehicles got bogged down and churned deep ruts in the field.

Donkey racing, stalls, fairground.

I have not been for several years. I used to go to pick up plants for the garden, but the stalls changed, too many commercial stalls, too many rubbish fast food stalls.

My only reason for going this year was because Save the Tumbledown Dick group had a stall. An excellent idea, as it gives the opportunity to communicate to a lot more people.

I found the stall, but rather late in the day, as I was talking to a friend. I arrived as they were packing up.

They had had a good day. Many people talked to, many people signed petition, many more people made aware of desire of McDonald’s to destroy an old pub for a Drive_thru McDonald’s. More people to visit the websites, more people to spread the word, boycott McDonald’s.

The group has achieved more than anyone else to highlight the threats to local heritage by greedy developers, certainly more than the useless Farnborough Society, and certainly more than the local council that gets into bed with developers and pushes their agenda.

So far, the pub is now listed locally as a building of local historical and heritage value (this means it cannot be demolished), it is listed as an asset of community value (which means local people have the opportunity to buy it should it come on the market).

The local listing means the councils now has to advise the owners on its upkeep. Are they doing so? It does not look so, as it is in a poor state of repair.

More now needs to be done.

A pub protection policy needs to be in place. That in Cambridge is ideal.

It is not only The Tumbledown Dick that needs protection. Yet another pub in Aldershot is facing closure.

An enforcement notice needs to be served on the owners of The Tumbledown Dick to deal with the poor state of disrepair. If neighbouring councils can serve notice on pubs in serious disrepair, why not Rushmoor? If Hart can serve an Urgent Works Notice to make the Swan Inn at North Warnborough watertight, then why are we not seeing the same for The Tumbledown Dick in Farnborough?

Having chatted for some time, everything was now packed up, or packing up.

This year still too many fast food stalls. There is no excuse for any. At the Staycation free music festival in Godalming last year, there was not a single fast food stall. Yes, there were food stalls, but not low quality tacky fast food stalls.

Looking around the site, this would make an ideal site for a free music festival, a main stage, an acoustic stage. Maybe once The Tumbledown Dick is taken out of the hands of a greedy grasping developer and back up and running as a live music venue and community pub, they can co-host an event with the help of the West End Centre in Aldershot.

Greedy pubcos are destroying our pubs

March 15, 2013

18 pubs a week are closing. It is not tax, it is not a ban on smoking that is killing ours pubs, it is greedy pubcos who are screwing pub landlords and forcing them out of business, then selling off the site for redevelopment.

The Tumbledown Dick, a c 1720s coaching inn, is one of many pubs facing destruction, destruction by greed.

McDonald’s criticised by MPs for targeting pubs in the search for new sites

March 15, 2013

MPs have accused McDonalds of undermining the “Great British pub” by buying up boozers and converting them into fast-food outlets.

The burger giant offers £20,000 for anyone who suggests a suitable site for a new restaurant, and lists pubs among desirable locations on its website.

McDonald's wants to open 30 new 'drive-thru' restaurants every year

McDonald’s wants to open 30 new ‘drive-thru’ restaurants every year

Now an MP has tabled a motion condemning McDonalds for contributing to the drastic decline of pubs, with campaigners claiming 18 are closing every week.

Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, is supported by MPs from the three main parties in his campaign.

Greg Mulholland chairs the all party Parliament's Save The Pub group

Greg Mulholland chairs the all party Parliament’s Save The Pub group

McDonalds told The Huffington Post UK former pubs could be “possible development opportunities.”

Planning consultations always take place, it said, adding that each new burger joint brings jobs to an area.

More than 1,700 people have joined a Facebook campaign to save an historic Hampshire pub from turning into a McDonalds.

There were also protests when a pub in Bromley was converted into a drive-through.

It is now listed as a case study on the McDonald’s website.

The Campaign for Real Ale said it had discussed the issue at a meeting on Wednesday night.

A Camra spokesman said pubs being converted into McDonald’s restaurants was “a worrying site and a massive blow to local communities.”

On its website, McDonald’s says it wants to open 30 new drive-through restaurants every year.

It lists pubs, as well as traditional high streets and shopping centres as possible locations.

Mulholland’s motion says:

“That this House condemns McDonald’s for actively encouraging the use of public houses as sites for development through the development section on its official website which lists pub conversions amongst other desired sites and offers a £20,000 introductory fee to anyone able to locate a suitable site.”

It calls on Parliament to acknowledge the practice “will contribute to the decline of the Great British pub, a cherished British institution which is already being threatened by the predatory purchasing of pubs for development by supermarkets” and claims “companies like McDonald’s and others are intentionally targeting and converting viable, wanted pubs for non-pub use without the community having a say.”

However, his claim of a “loophole” to allow pubs to be converted into fast-food outlets without planning consent was disputed by McDonald’s, which said it has to follow full planning procedure.

A spokesman for the company said: “Like many businesses, we look to identify possible development opportunities in a number of locations, some of which include sites of former pubs.

“In order to convert a pub we require a change of use and therefore must apply for planning consent and we always conduct consultation before and during the planning application procedure.

“When we open new restaurants we bring investment to the local area and create around 65 full and part-time jobs.”

— Tom Moseley

Original article by Tom Moseley published in the Huffington Post.

18 pubs a week are closing across the country, not because they are badly run, though no doubt some are, but because greedy zombie pubcos are jacking up rents to pub landlords to unaffordable levels and selling off the pubs for redevelopment.

The Hampshire pub mentioned which has stirred up so much anger locally, is The Tumbledown Dick, a c 1720s coaching inn that existed long before Farnborough.

The anger is not only aimed at the Fat Clown, it is also directed at the local council that has a track record of destroying local heritage, local businesses and getting into bed with developers.

To date the local council has done nothing to safeguard the pub, on the contrary has done everything it can to facilitate its destruction by McDonald’s. This ranges from commissioning a shoddy report from a consultancy that acts for developers and surprise surprise shows the pub to be of little historical or architectural value, to obstructing requests for information, failing to list the building on a local list of buildings and structures of historical value, refusing to adopt a pub protection policy, falsely claiming not required by national planning policy.

In response to questions from a local councillor, lies.

How zombie pubco Punch is destroying pubs

February 14, 2013

An excellent video on the Guardian website explaining how zombie pubco Punch is destroying pubs.

Punch is a zombie company saddled with debts that it has no hope of paying off.

Punch went on a massive pub buying spree, using borrowed money, money that it can no longer repay. It can barely meet the interest payments. It does so by squeezing pub landlords, jacking up the rent, over charging for beer and other drinks. When all else fails, and the pub landlord is driven out of business, losing everything, the pub is put up for sale for redevelopment.

As a result, we are losing 18 pubs a week. One such pub is The Tumbledown Dick a c 1720s coaching inn under threat of demolition for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Local councils are required by national planning to have in place a pub protection policy, but few have. A model pub protection policy is that introduced by Cambridge.

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