Decision from English Heritage

Dear Supporters
We are sad to announce that English Heritage have declined to list the Tumbledown at this stage.

Their grounds for rejecting our application appears to be solely based on information gleaned from the Turley Associates report commissioned by the Council.

We must remain steadfast in our conviction to save this wonderful heritage building. To this end we will be lodging an appeal with the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Our appeal will be based on substantive grounds with significant evidence that English Heritage have not included in their findings, they appear to have relied solely on the information supplied by Turley Associates, with no on-site visit or archaeological investigations.

The Tumbledown Dick is a significant public house with a wealth of important historical connections that we are hoping will be protected on appeal. It is worth noting that English Heritage rarely list Public Houses due to the huge number of them and will only do so, in very special cases.

In any event, whatever the outcome, Friends of the Tumbledown Dick will be fighting to save this historic building which has been present in Farnborough for centuries. We will be continuing our fight to save the building from demolition or redevelopment by McDonald’s. We have applied to the Council to nominate the building as an Asset of Community Value and we hope to enact our Right to Bid on the building under the terms of the Localism Act. This work will continue irrespective of the English Heritage aspect.

Friends of the Tumbledown Dick

To local people, the campaign to save the Tumbledown has become something bigger…

To local people, the campaign to save the Tumbledown has become something bigger, a test if you like of our officials.. a test of integrity and courage and whether our elected council members are prepared to truly represent the views of the people or just oversee the planning for big business as it sees a problem building solved and another large corporate in our town.

Turley Associates, McDonalds & Rushmoor Borough Council

Turley Associates, who have a long and successful track record working with major companies in redevelopment, were chosen as an “independent assessor” to conduct a Heritage Assessment on the Tumbledown Dick by Rushmoor Borough Council.

It should be noted that Turley Associates have also been used on numerous occasions by McDonalds.

Here is a selection of some of the work Turley have conducted for McDonalds.

  1. Proposed skypole signage at McDonald’s Restaurant, Linkwood Place, Linkwood Industrial Estate, Elgin, Moray, IV30 1HZ
  2. Display of an internally illuminated gantry sign at McDonalds, Fife Leisure Park, Dunfermline, Fife
  3. Erection of restaurant with drive through and take-away facilities | 6 Straiton Mains Pentland Retail Park Straiton Loanhead Midlothian
  4. Display of 5 roof signs and 1 wall sign and 4 freestanding signboards all internally illuminated at McDonalds, Fife Leisure Park, Dunfermline, Fife
  5. Erection of drive-thru restaurant – amendment of application, Braes Shopping Centre Castlemilk Arcade Glasgow
  6. Display of one internally illuminated sky pole sign, Braes Shopping Centre, Castlemilk Arcade, Glasgow

Rushmoor Borough Council: Our position on The Tumbledown Dick public house.

The Tumbledown Dick Public House The Tumbledown Dick public house has been closed since 2008. The land, which is in private ownership, has been identified in the Farnborough Town Centre Prospectus as a site suitable for re-use or redevelopment. This could be through re-using existing buildings on the site or by new buildings.

We are keen to see the site brought back into use as it is 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 their land might be developed. This is usually through the submission of a planning application, although pre-application discussion often take place between an applicant and the council before an application is submitted.

Interest in the Tumbledown Dick

The site of the Tumbledown Dick is currently the subject of considerable interest because of proposals to use the site for a fast-food restaurant. No planning application has been received yet, but some local people are concerned about the proposals, as they would like to see the building preserved and refurbished.

Those who support the retention of the building have suggested that it is of significant age and should be considered for inclusion on English Heritage’s statutory list of buildings of architectural or historic interest, which would give it ‘listed’ status.

English Heritage’s assessment

At the request of local campaigners,  English Heritage assessed the Tumbledown Dick for listing, but concluded that from the evidence available, it lacked the special architectural and historical interest required to qualify for listing. For more details, see the pdf icon English Heritage assessment report [57kb], published on 11 January 2013.

Independent consultant’s report

So that we could get an impartial and expert view on the history, age and interest of the existing building, we commissioned Turley Associates, a consultancy with expertise in the field of historic buildings, to carry out research and an inspection of the building, to report their findings and to assess the building against the criteria used by English Heritage when considering if a building is worthy of listing. This report would be used as supporting information if the council receives a planning application alongside any other information we receive as part of the application process.

You can view the pdf icon consultant’s report [911kb].

We also made a copy of the report available to English Heritage.

Friends of the Tumbledown Dick heritage report

The Friends of the Tumbledown Dick, who are campaigning for the retention of the building, have issued their own heritage report, which you can read on the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick website.

Planning Application

We have not received a planning application, although there have been some pre-application discussions with the site owners and McDonald’s. Some local people who support retention of the Tumbledown Dick have suggested that we are already supporting its demolition. This is not the case. If an application is received, there will be a period of public consultation.

Residents can find out more about this by viewing our How we decide planning applications page. It is only after the period of consultation that planning officers will make their recommendations to the Development Control Committee. The councillors on this committee will make the final decision on any planning application, taking account of national and local planning policies as well as comments received from the public.

Original story:

Friends Of The Tumbledown Dick release their own Heritage Assessment report


Read the FTTD Heritage Assessment Report here.

Further to the commissioning of a Heritage Assessment report by RBC undertaken by

The Tumbledown Dick 1922

The Tumbledown Dick 1922

Turley Associates, we as a Community group, believe it to be a fundamentally flawed and poorly researched document missing significant evidence of the historical and architectural importance and value of this treasured asset to Farnborough.

It would be a tragedy for Rushmoor Council to allow just this evidence alone to sway opinion on the future of this building once the planning application is submitted by McDonald’s. As you may know, we as a campaign have submitted our own application for listing to English Heritage and we believe the outcome of this should have been awaited, rather than the Council pre-empting this by commissioning their own report, this is very unusual.

In the meantime, as a response to the Turley report, we have felt it necessary to publish our own Heritage Assessment Report findings. Please find attached our report which has been written without the benefit of access to the building, but nonetheless, you will see that a huge amount of research has been undertaken in libraries, museums and online. All this information is in the public domain and we are most surprised that Turley Associates overlooked nearly all of it.

The Tumbledown Dick 1782

The original of this painting (1782) was copied for an article in the The Graphic, Illustrated London News in 1891 and was edited to remove “offensive” material (a man who is probably the driver to the left of the image)

You may be aware that The Farnborough Society requested that the Tumbly be added to their proposed list of ‘Buildings of Local Importance’  but for some reason it never made the final list or any comment whatsoever passed on it, despite the TFS querying this, it being one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough and it being a Hampshire Treasure as stated in Hampshire Treasures Vol 3.

In the event there is any confusion or misunderstanding, let us clarify that Friends of the Tumbledown Dick has been formed as a Community Interest Group in order to enact our right to bid under the Localism Act to save a local treasured building for community use. We hope to obtain listing status of the building following our own application to English Heritage who are reviewing it now. We will also be submitting our report attached to English Heritage. We wish to see off the McDonald’s bid and we have significant local population support for our campaign plus of course considerable press interest. We wish to acquire the building and if we are able to use our ‘right to bid’ we will be granted 6 months leeway to fund raise in order to buy the building, following a new district valuer valuation of the existing bricks and mortar value of the site. Please note, it is our view that McDonald’s are offering to pay significantly more than the value of the site due to what they consider future value of the cinema complex and as they are intending to increase the boundaries of the site to accommodate their drive-thru, neither of which will be part of our future needs and will not be a factor in any new valuation.

Also the BBC have taken an interest in our campaign and have started filming from the last demo we did and will be airing a documentary on Inside Out show in February about our campaign.

BBC Radio Surrey coverage

Early this morning (2nd Jan 2013), Fran Beauchamp was interviewed by BBC Surrey.

You can listen to the interview on BBC Radio Surrey here :
BBC Sussex – Danny Pyke  (2nd Jan 2013).

The BBC will only allow you to listen until they take it off-line on the 9th Jan.

Please forward through to 2hrs 09mins to hear Andrew Lloyd’s pre-recorded interview followed by Fran’s live response.

Enjoy !.


Are you a musician ?

Are you a musician ?We have listened to requests and we are in the process of organising a

Live Music Event
as a fund-raiser, at the
Agincourt, Camberley
Sat 2nd Feb 2013

(subject to interest.)

Any interested bands should contact [email protected] – with a link to your band page and demo’s. This will be a fundraiser so we can’t pay anyone I’m afraid but it’s all for the cause as it will be a ticketed event. All proceeds will go to the ‘Save the Tumbledown’ fighting fund.

All types of music will be considered, but we already have some cover bands so original bands would be preferred at this stage.

We’re especially keen on hearing from Farnborough based bands, but if you can crank up a good tune and bring some fans… We’re listenin’ !!!

Friends of the Tumbly release their Press Statement

The following Press Release was sent to the National Press:

30 Nov 2012

The Tumbledown Dick is a pub and music venue in Farnborough, Hants. But not just any old pub.. it is a 300 year old heritage building that dates back to the early 1600’s from the era of horse and carriages and highwaymen when it was a Coaching Inn on the barren road between Portsmouth and London. This building pre-dates nearly all of Farnborough and the town slowly built up around it. This is therefore a treasured site for our town. However just come and see the condition it has been allowed to fall in? With weeds growing from it and shutters across the windows it seems a scandal does it not that the building has never been Listed and is not even on the local Council’s ‘Buildings of Local Importance’ list affording it no protection whatsoever!

‘Friends of the Tumbledown Dick’ was formed in October 2012 following the closure of the pub some years earlier in 2008 to save it from its growing dereliction. It is our aim to make the local community aware of the historical value of this building and we also wish to acquire the building ourselves using the new legislation of the Localism Act as a Community Group to restore it and return it into use as a dedicated music venue, pub and community arts centre. However as a final injustice we have recently discovered that the present owners (a commercial property developers called Bride Hall) have entered into an agreement to sell it to McDonald’s Restaurants, subject to planning, who want to demolish it and build a ‘supersize’ 2-storey drive-thru instead. We already have a major McDonald’s drive-thru and restaurant only a mile up the road from the Tumbledown site called Farnborough Gate and now this one is also set to be extended to a new supersized 2 storey drive-thru. The health impact of having so many take-away and fast food outlets in one town is obvious and is already impacting local health services.

We have started talks with the Council, which on the face of it seemed helpful and encouraging, but having carried out Freedom of Information requests with the Council we have discovered the real extent of the relationships between McDonald’s, Bride Hall and the Council and very cosy it is too. We have seen the full pre-application plans were submitted to the Council in April to show the demolition of the Tumbledown despite our campaign, we were never informed of this.

Bride Hall also own another piece of prime real estate next to the Tumbledown called Firgrove Parade which currently has 5 independent retailers with flats above and parking right outside. This is also being sold off by Bride Hall to Whitbread to build a huge Premier Inn budget hotel with a Beefeater restaurant below, thereby demolishing the independent retailer units. This would take the total number of large hotels in Farnborough to 7, the most recent of which includes a Travellodge and Weatherspoons within spitting distance of Firgrove, which is severely under-occupancy most days of the week. Why the demand for another large hotel (on a key site) we cannot fathom?

Finally Bride Hall’s Chairman Mr Danny Desmond, is on the rich list in this country, reportedly worth £90 million. His sons now run the business however their shares are in trust in Bermuda. As a consequence Bride Hall pay virtually no Corporation Tax in the UK. The main benefactors of both these morally questionable property deals will infact be Bride Hall, non UK tax payers… the people of Farnborough however stand to lose a once grand heritage building, an evening culture and have a skyline of yet more ugly buildings at the gateway to the town that are of little actual benefit to local people, plus many local independent traders will lose their business. How is this in the best interests of our community?

Tumbly makes front page news again

This article is in today’s Farnborough News & Mail.

Our campaign team have carried out an extensive Freedom of Information (FOI) request of Rushmoor Borough Council and have seen the pre-application plans submitted by McDonald’s for a large 2-storey drive-thru with a 12 metre golden arches sign above it… both entrance and exits to be on to the Farnborough Road..

Farnborough doesn’t want or need this !!

Come to our demo on Saturday 1st December 2012 at 1pm and sign our petition. (available online or at the demo)

We cannot stand by and watch McDonald’s and property developers steal our heritage this is a disgrace!!