Author Archives: Rossi

About Rossi

Paul is a full time professional business editor, writer & marketer and runs a local business providing web design and graphic design.

Response to Questions on Funds

On Facebook the other day (13th November 17:42)  Rushmoor’s Empress Ward Councillor David Clifford, made a statement asking the following questions:

I would be very interested to know how much the group has raised from the public and what you intend to do with the money? Would you be interested in investing in a live music venue in Farnborough elsewhere in the town? Who are the members of the committee that look after the funds?

I made a statement on behalf of the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick, stating the following: Continue reading

McDonald’s Planning Granted

On Wednesday 9th October 2013, the planning application by McDonald’s to turn the  Tumbledown Dick pub into a fast food outlet was looked at by Rushmoor Borough Council’s Development Control Committee. RBC’s planning department advised that the plans be granted. The DCC discussed the plans and, after nearly an hour of mixed statements from councillors on the committee, the planning application was indeed granted by 7 votes to 3 as some of the valid material planning objections were seemingly swept aside as being almost irrelevant.

Without commenting, here is the video of the meeting:

How to Object to McDonald’s Planning Application and Save the Tumbledown

Let’s make this perfectly clear from the start: The campaign to save the Tumbledown Dick is about saving one of Farnborough’s oldest buildings, restoring it to its former glory and returning it to serve the community in an inclusive, culturally and socially beneficial manner.

McDonald’s want to destroy everything but the front wall of the building and then build a drive through fast food outlet around the back. We need to return the heart of our community, serve good beer, wholesome food, put on live music & events and make this place of true benefit to the locals and not some faraway big business overlords and their shareholders.

So, if you want to object to McDonald’s planning application and save the Tumbledown Dick as a thriving cultural focus for future generations, then read on…



Proposed Operating Hours will be 6am until midnight 7 days a week

The consultation period to submit objections ends on 6th September 2013. What impact will this have on Farnborough, traffic, litter, noise, anti-social behaviour? Here’s the headlines – if you wish to object you must use material planning objections based on National or Local Planning policy or your objection will be ignored; unfortunately writing to the council saying you don’t want it is not enough, you have to give strong planning reasons.

Thousands of local people are against this development but it could happen unless enough people contact the planning department objecting! Not only does Farnborough already have a major drive-thru McDonald’s only 1 mile from this site at Farnborough Gate, but it will mean the partial demolition of the building which dates back hundreds of years and is one of the few remaining historical buildings in the town. McDonald’s are proposing a 2 storey site (with soft play centre to encourage children and families to eat there). Due to the limitation of the site in terms of size and shape, there will only be 30 parking spaces and drive-thru lanes with 11 cars able to queue through the drive-thru at any one time. During peak periods it is inevitable that traffic will tail back onto the A325.

There is a community campaign to save the building being run by Friends of the Tumbledown Dick who have nominated and obtained an Asset of Community Value (ACV) status on the building and site. This means we can bid on the building to buy it to retain it as a community pub and music venue and restore and utilise the building for the benefit of the people of Farnborough as a cultural and social meeting place. We will only have the opportunity to bid if the planning is refused and McDonald’s withdraw from the sale.

Please urgently email the planning department at Rushmoor Borough Council using the email address: [email protected] saying you wish to submit a planning objection quoting the planning reference: 13/00512/FULPP (please feel free to go online onto Rushmoor Borough Council’s website and review all 44 documents submitted by McDonald’s for this site).

Please include your name and home address when objecting.

You can object on the following grounds:


  • 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 must conserve the impact of development and great weight should be given to the asset’s conservation. McDonald’s propose to keep only the façade but demolish the rest of the building, this is unacceptable.
  • 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 decision


Request that the Council support their decision to approve the building as an Asset of Community Value by making this a material planning consideration. The building is also “locally listed” as a building of local importance.


  • Queuing traffic causing potential tail backs 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 mean 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 may 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 RBC’s requirements for 63 spaces minimum as only 30 spaces are proposed.


Unfortunately 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? This is a national and local planning consideration.


The constant hum of traffic processing through the drive-thru lanes 12 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 could also lead to a great deal more litter around the area and the Empress ward, plus may increase anti-social behaviour in view of the experiences at Farnborough Gate. Quote 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 & Pollution.


Increase in litter is a material planning consideration as it is a side effect of the development and due to the impact of the Farnborough Gate McDonald’s many local residents are regularly reporting litter spread across a wide area of Farnborough beyond the boundaries of the McDonald’s outlet.  In addition we have evidence that the immediate site of Farnborough Gate, although within the litter patrol areas, is regularly neglected and covered in refuse.

Another McDonald’s outlet in a town centre location will likely significantly increase in litter across the town and beyond as people drive, park up elsewhere and dump their litter.


McDonald’s state this site will create 65 full time but mostly part-time jobs, but any jobs lost in the family-run take-aways opposite due to competition in the immediate vicinity should be mitigated against this. In addition, McDonald’s operate their employment contracts for most members 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. Please include any other material planning objections you wish.



To find out more about our campaign to Save the Tumbledown Dick, please see the links below:



Bride Hall Appeal ACV Status of the Tumbly

We have this week been informed that Bride Hall have appealed the Asset of Community Value (ACV) status of the Tumbledown Dick, to the First Tier Tribunal stage. We are pleased that Rushmoor Borough Council do not agree with this appeal and will be defending their original decision that indeed the Tumbly is an Asset of Community Value.

It is most interesting that Bride Hall are going to such lengths to remove the ACV from the Tumbly, despite the local council agreeing that this building is important to our community.

We will keep you informed of the process and we are pleased to inform you that the Judge handling the case has instructed that the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick be offered the opportunity to link with RBC in the defence of the ACV at the hearing. This is new legislation, we are learning as we go, but we are very hopeful that the ACV will be upheld.

Tumbledown Features in CAMRA’s News & Ale

I was in the Prince of Wales the other night, chatting with random locals, as you do, when I was handed a copy of the local Surrey/Hants Branch of CAMRA’s News & Ale magazine. The feature that I was supposed to read was about the rise of microbreweries in Ireland but, as I thumbed through the rest of the mag, I spied this little number:

CAMRA's News and Ale - Fight to Save the Tumbledown

Here’s the full transcript:

The Fight to Save the Tumbledown Dick

By Fran Beauchamp

Driving past the landmark heritage building along the main Farnborough Road, Farnborough, Hants, back in October 2012, the Tumbledown Dick Pub was a very sorry sight indeed. A once thriving public house, hotel and live music venue it had been closed by the brewery since 2008 and had been left to fall into semi-dereliction by the leaseholders, Spirit Pub Company, and no action to intervene had been taken by the freeholders, Bride Hall, a wealthy firm of city developers.

This building means a lot to the people of Farnborough, afterall it has been standing since before Farnborough was even built and served as a Coaching Inn and Posting House, from the days of highwaymen and long and dangerous journeys from London to the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth by coach and horses. The Tumbledown Dick was a stopping place of safety for passing travellers and eventually a town sprung up around it. Over the next few hundred years, the building was used by the Army for passing out celebrations, by the gentry as a nice hotel, by the Masons who formed masonic lodges within it and of course by local people. This changed again in the 20th Century when local people used the venue hall on the side of the pub to host live music nights and The Jam played here 13 times in 1975 just before they were signed. Not only The Jam, but also the Buzzcocks, the Vapors and latterly, bands such as A Hundred Reasons and Reuben.

It also hosted a very popular nightclub on Friday nights called Quarantine which was extremely popular and to this day local people talk about how much they miss the pub and venue for the live music and entertainment it once offered the town and has not been replaced. Plus of course the pub had history, it was unique and we were proud to have it in our town on the main road in the town centre. After it was closed, a lot of people lobbied local council to find out what the plans were for it. Spirit Group said they were going to spend £1million on a refurb, well that didn’t materialise and the pub stayed empty and was eventually boarded up and a sad sight it is on a main road location.

So that day in October, having seen new evidence that all the trees had been cut down, some of which were over 300 years old and new perimeter security fencing had been erected, I felt the site looked as if it was being prepared for demolition. I drove home immediately and started a Facebook page ‘Save the Tumbledown Dick Pub & Live Music Venue’. Within a matter of weeks the page had been shared literally hundreds of times by local people and we had thousands of people involved who supported our campaign to Save the Tumbledown. We put people in teams to carry out Heritage Research, put together Business Plans and formed a committee and called ourselves ‘Friends of the Tumbledown Dick’ and set ourselves up as a Community Interest Company with aims to acquire the building and renovate it as a community run pub and hoped to use the new legislation under the Localism Act to help us achieve this. It was at this point we discovered the pub had been sold to McDonald’s by Bride Hall. This was devastating news and after some research and Freedom of Information Requests with the local council, Rushmoor, we discovered that plans were afoot to completely demolish this heritage building and replace it with a large 2 storey box for a huge drive-thru. We were appalled, not least because Farnborough already has a major McDonald’s drive-thru just over a mile up the road and the town is already suffering from obesity problems and has a considerable number of fast food outlets already, including a number directly opposite the Tumbledown, family run businesses that would undoubtedly be forced out of business if this scheme goes ahead.

We reacted immediately and applied for the pub to become an Asset of Community Value (ACV) with Rushmoor Borough Council which has been granted, however this will not necessarily save the building. The sale with McDonald’s is still in place and if their planning permission is granted by the local planning department we will lose this building forever. We lobbied parliament and our MP Sir Gerald Howarth met with McDonald’s, they agreed to keep the façade of the building but the rest would be demolished and rebuilt to suit their scheme for a 2 storey drive-thru but more in keeping with the existing building.

Sir Gerald is content with this as a result, we however are not, we want to keep our pub and we don’t need or want a 2nd drive-thru in a town centre location. We have already had a couple of large public demonstrations outside the pub and now a rally is being organised on Sat 9 March from The Tumbledown up to the McDonald’s in Farnborough Gate. The Tumbledown is in the local paper nearly every week thanks to our campaigning and we have recently been the subject of a BBC documentary for ‘Inside Out’ due to the amazing community involvement. We are also lobbying council to add the building to their Local List of Buildings of Importance as we are at a loss to understand how such an old and important building could have been excluded.

So at the time of writing, we are now awaiting the final plans to be submitted to Rushmoor Borough Council and we are hoping to lobby council directly to listen to our business plan, if they reject the planning, we will get the opportunity to fundraise and bid on the building as a community group, for the benefit of the people of Farnborough. I don’t think many people can say that another huge drive-thru restaurant will benefit anyone other than the profit margins of an international fast food chain and a city developer, the people of Farnborough will be the losers. As daunting an opponent as McDonald’s undoubtedly are, we will not stand by and watch them destroy this heritage and unique pub and music venue without a fight to the last. Nearly 4,000 Rushmoor residents agree!

Cool huh? You can pick up CAMRA Surrey/Hants Borders’ “News & Ale” magazine from any decent real ale pub in the area or download the PDF version here. Thanks again to Paul Cowper of CAMRA SHB.

Griff Rhys Jones supports Saving the Tumbly

Griff Rhys Jones Supports The Tumbledown

If you’ve ever seen the BBC TV series “Restoration” you’ll be familiar with the format; the show looks at buildings in serious need of repair & funding and votes are cast by viewers over which project to save.

The show’s presenter is comedian, actor, writer and champion of architecture, Griff Rhys Jones, who has a sincere passion for the old buildings on his programme. Griff is also the President of Civic Voice, the national charity that promotes civic pride. When Griff appeared on BBC’s Question Time from the Princes Hall, Aldershot, a few weeks ago he spoke with some loyal supporters of the Tumbledown and exchanged details. Today he asked our chairperson, Fran, to issue this statement on his behalf:

It is a great shame and a pity that such a distinguished, friendly old building on such a prominent site should be allowed to fall into disrepair, simply in order to knock it down and build a drive-through burger bar. Why? The Tumbledown Dick is part of the history of Farnborough. It is the fabric of the story of Farnborough. It has been a lively and exciting place until quite recently. This is a crying shame. It can never be replaced. So come on Farnborough! Get together, speak out and stop the further degradation of your town centre. This is your drawing room. It is not a drive through roundabout. It is the pride and heartbeat of your locality and its time to support the action group here and tell the council and planners that you want to keep the memories alive. Protest. Sign petitions. Make your voices heard and help restore this grand old lady. – Griff Rhys Jones”

Griff joins actor Neil Stuke and MP Greg Mulholland in our list of high profile endorsements and thinks our pub is lovely, so we will certainly be buying him a round or two when we can regain, restore and reopen our historic pub.

So come on Farnborough, get behind us and protect your heritage, save the Tumbledown!

The Tumbledown: Officially a Building of Local Importance

The Tumbledown Dick - Building of Local Importance

The Tumbledown Dick – Building of Local Importance

Yesterday afternoon Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the Tumbledown Dick to be added to the list of “Buildings of Local Importance”.

Our Chairperson, Fran Beauchamp, has issued the following statement:

“On behalf of Friends of the Tumbledown Dick, I would like to thank RBC’s Cabinet and Keith Holland of Planning for today approving The Tumbledown Dick for the Local List of buildings of importance. This is an important and long overdue acknowledgement of how important this building is to local people and means that it becomes a material planning consideration for any present or future owner wishing to make significant changes to it. Our community group has worked tirelessly to save this building from destruction and we can only hope that we will be finally given the opportunity to enact our ‘right to bid’. A good day Rushmoor!”

“To be listed locally, a building must meet only 1 of the criteria laid out in the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The report provided to the Cabinet from their Head of Planning and the Historic Buildings Officer, highlights that the Tumbledown Dick meets a minimum of 4 of the criteria needed for local listing. Although it is sad that the building did not meet the high standard of criteria for National Listing it is apparent to all that the building and site are an intrinsic part of the fabric and history of Farnborough and more than sufficient to meet local listing requirements, it is just unfortunate that it had not been afforded this protection previously.”

“This is by no means the end of our fight to protect The Tumbledown Dick as Bride Hall, the current owners, have enacted their right to have the Asset of Community Value listing reviewed. This means that the Council now need to review the process and the decision to ensure it was appropriate and Friends of the Tumbledown will be submitting evidence in support of the listing in the next few days. We look forward to also seeing the evidence provided by Bride Hall, a national property developer based in Mayfair, as to why they do not feel that this building is an Asset of Community Value for Farnborough and local people who are fighting to protect it.”

“Friends of the Tumbledown would like to thank the public for their continued support in our campaign, in the face of much adversity. We believe that local people have made a difference in changing the agenda for planning issues in Farnborough and if nothing else, we have proven that the community working together can achieve supportive and fantastic change. We only hope that Rushmoor Borough Council continue to support ours and all community groups going forward as this is absolutely imperative in the overall success of what we want to achieve for the benefit of the community.”

“Finally, we now have in excess of 4,407 signatures on our petition, this is a significant public mandate for our community group aims.”

Save the Firgrove 4

If you tolerate this, then your children will be nextBride Hall (who also own the Tumbledown site) have now applied for planning to demolish the shops and flats at Firgrove Parade, Farnborough, to be replaced by an 80 bed budget hotel (A Premier Inn – Farnborough already has one in Southwood, and there are 600 Premier Inns in the country. There is a new and rather ugly Travelodge just 50 yards from this site) with a large Beefeater Restaurant below, flats & retail units. This development will also see the loss of the last remaining green space in the town centre with 12 trees next to the parade, which despite having covenants to protect it, is being given up by Rushmoor Borough Council to enable Bride Hall to proceed with this development and will be lost.

It is VERY important that any objections submitted to this scheme are based on actual planning reasons, rather than just disagreeing with it. We have put together what we think are suitable grounds for objections.

This is extremely urgent  as the closing date for objections to the  Firgrove Parade development plan is Tuesday 19th March, 2013.

What Can I Do to Help?

Email an objection to Rushmoor Borough Council

We will only ask you to object to this application and the one for the Tumbly (when it comes up)

PLEASE EMAIL YOUR OBJECTION to [email protected]

We recommend that you copy and paste the text below.

Please include your name and address on your email.


If you want, you can also add (cc) [email protected] and request that your objection goes before their committee

The 2 deals are tied together, so blocking this is important!

Copy & paste this bit into your email

Objections to Planning ref: 13/00024/FULPP

Objection 1 – Like for like amenities

The strategic planning documents for Rushmoor (the Rushmoor core strategy) state that the regeneration of the town buildings need to be replaced with buildings of like for like amenities.

Firgrove is currently:

A1 (shops & retail outlets)
A3 (food & drink)
C3 (residential)

The proposed development is:

C1 (hotels, boardings and guest houses)
A1 (shops & retail outlets)
A3 (food & drink)
A4 (drinking establishments)

Objection 2 – Previous granted planning applications

Planning application (ref#00/00695/FUL granted 24th April 2002) contains caveats that include:
“protecting the trees in the interest of the health of the trees and the visual amenity of the area
“to protect the visual amenities of the street scene and the character and appearance of the area”
“to protect the amenities of surrounding residential properties and other occupiers”
“to ensure that materials harmonise with the surrounding buildings and environment”
“to ensure that existing trees are adequately protected in the interests of the visual amenities of the site and the locality in general.”

This precedent in 2002 placed the caveats to protect the aesthetic of the area and ensure that sufficient care was taken to protect the visual amenity of the area. This precedent has not been taken into account in the new proposals by Bride Hall which are severely lacking in visual aesthetic and amenities and are not harmonised with the surrounding buildings.

Objection 3 – parking

The proposed development lists 20 public parking spaces for a development that is significantly greater than this. The developers reasoning for lack of parking provision is that it’s OK to use other paid for parking in the vicinity of the development.

The current parking provision in the proposed planning documents allocates 14 residential car parking spaces, 13 retail spaces, 7 allocated hotel parking spaces. For a development of this size, there will be a lot of displaced parking, onto the Kingsmead surface car park (aka Sainbury’s car park) which will have a commercial impact upon Sainsbury’s and other retailer with customers being unable to park within easy access. this will impact upon the town’s development as a whole.

Objection 4 – Local Highway Network

The developer claims that:

“the development will not have a significant impact upon the local highway network”

However, since Sainburys opened up there has been significant growth in traffic that are single destination journeys and with the proposed usage of hotel and restaurant, this will increase significantly those traffic with regards to singal journey traffic and on already at capacity junctions, namely the a325 Clockhouse roundabout and the junction of Victoria Road and Kingsmead junction traffic lights.

There are also no provisions for disabled parking.

There is no mention of the current capacity used by the existing serviced apartments.
13/00024/FULPP | Demolition and redevelopment of properties at 1-5 Firgrove Parade

Objection 5

Loss of Green Space – this development will see the loss of one of the last remaining green spaces in the town centre after the removal of covenants protecting it. The purported planting contained within the plan is by no way comparable to the size and density of the current green space.

Five Years On, Still no Tumbledown

The Tumble Down Dick, FarnboroughOn this day, five years ago, I popped out, at around tea time, to get dinner for my family.

As I stood in Farnborough Kebab and Burger (FKB) waiting for a large doner, a chicken burger, chips and salad, I glanced across the Farnborough Road and thought something was amiss. The Tumble Down Dick, the pub I’d occasionally frequented over a period of twenty years, was eerily dark. Continue reading

The Tumbly: An Asset of Community Value

The Tumble Down Dick, Farnborough - Now officially recognised as an Asset of Community Value

Update: The Tumbly is now the FIRST ever building in Rushmoor to be accepted as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) following nomination by the The Friends of the Tumble Down Dick. This is a new term from the Localism Bill which means that if the building does go up for sale, The Friends of the Tumbledown (a community group) will automatically be given a ‘right to bid’ on it and be given six months to raise the funds to buy the building… Continue reading