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:



7 thoughts on “How to Object to McDonald’s Planning Application and Save the Tumbledown

  1. Secret Terrorist

    Somebody ought to read what McDonald’s are actually proposing. They’re reatining/refurbishing the two principal/oldest buildings-this is more than just the facade.See 6.,1 & 6.2 on page 44 of the Historic Building Assessment.

    1. Rossi Post author

      Thank you for your input, “Secret Terrorist”; that part of the “assessment” has been read many times and we are well aware of what is “actually” being proposed – the eastern elevation of the two main parts of the building will remain “largely unaltered” meaning that they’re “retaining the façade”.

      That nobody has been officially able (or willing) to identify and determine the age and history of the oldest part of the building and has left the option for that part’s demolition wide open, despite the building being both a Hampshire Treasure and locally listed.

      As for the rest of the proposal, it’s a homogeneous fast food outlet with inadequate parking, potential traffic problems, litter problems, health problems, a serious threat to competing independent small businesses; basically it’s just the worst thing that could happen to this old pub.

  2. Secret Terrorist

    Difficult to see how presrving/refurbishing two principle buildings is just retaining facade-need a stiff drink.Very little,if any, prior to 1817 left- described as “new” that date. Virtually nothing b4 20th century survives-try different angle,

    1. Rossi Post author

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having difficulty. I have no such problems so feel free to have that drink if it makes you feel better; I too might consider medicinal intake if I ever thought that tacky fast food decor was an acceptable “refurbishment” of a once-thriving historical pub which, you will have noticed, is an Asset of Community Value.

      However, it’s good to know that you don’t disagree on the points of utterly inadequate parking, litter, traffic and health issues. Thank you :)

  3. Roger

    The above link to the 44 documents submitted by McDonald’s does not work, there is a missing ‘0’ at the end.

    You may have done these already but just in case:

    Have you contacted the popular Ask if you can provide a short article for the website

    You need to get the interest of Twitter people like @Anti_McDonalds.

    Get advice on wider publicity from the excellent “NO McDonalds in The Dandenong Ranges” campaign

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