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.

4 thoughts on “Save the Firgrove 4

  1. Keith

    Use e-mail, not the planning portal. The planning portal is not reliable.

    Make it clear you are lodging an OBJECTION and that you wish to see these plans REJECTED, otherwise you will be seen as merely wishing to comment.

    Demand that your OBJECTIONS are placed before all members of the committee and you require confirmation.

    Send your e-mail to all members of the planning committee.

    Send a bcc to all your friends and in a separate e-mail, encourage them to object to.

    You may also wish to add a sixth objection:

    Objection 6 – Loss of small retailers, local businesses, impact on local economy

    Currently a couple of local shops, a restaurant, limited short term parking, money recycled within the local economy.

    Much work has been done by the New Economics Foundation on the importance of the local economy and recycling money within the local economy and why local businesses are important.

    We are not losing small businesses because they are failing to meet a local demand, we are losing them due to short term greed of developers and crass planning decisions that are not in the best interest of the locality.

    Islington recognises the importance of local shops to the character of the local area, employment, the local economy. Islington has written this into their local planning policies.

    From Islington draft policy on town centres (page 61):

    The council views the retention of small and independent shops as a baseline and places
    great weight on the need to retain any shops which currently or potentially could be utilised
    by small and independent retailers.

    then onwards.

    Why no such protection for local shops and small businesses in Aldershot and Farnborough? We have seen loss of shops with the trashing of Farnborough town centre, in Aldershot The Arcade which provides retail space for small retailers is under threat, the ugly Westgate development on the edge of Aldershot town centre is having a negative impact on small retailers and restaurants in Aldershot town centre.

    We have dead and dying town centres due to the failure of past planning decisions. Why are lessons not being learnt, look to best practice elsewhere?

    Market Rasen, a small market town in Lincolnshire, has reduced shop vacancy by focusing on small shops, community, and creating a sustainable local economy.

    Similarly North Laine area in Brighton.

    1. Rossi Post author

      Keith, thank you, that is great advice. I shall modify the page accordingly.

      I also noticed that the planning portal was unusable last night and not for the first time either.

      Back in a bit, just updating the page…

  2. Steve Optix

    Why has everyone overlooked that this building is an ugly eyesore and does nothing for Farnborough at all? There are more than enough available units within and around the town centre that will receive much more footfall thus increasing trade for these business owners.

    As an ex DJ and regular at the Tumbledown I strongly believe it the TD needs to be saved but the fact that the same people own Firgrove has no merit in the argument against a redevelopment of the site whatsoever.

    Ugly, out of of date, in a state of decay, poor street scene, poorly kept shop fronts, yes Longworth, I’m talking about you, why not try to look like you’re in the 21st Century?

    If everyone cares so much why not petition the owners to make Firgrove Parade presentable? Here’s why, money. They could spend a fortune improving the look but why should they when there’s a much juicier offer on the table? They’re business people and the main objective is to make money. It’s not as if there isn’t 100 better options and locations for these traders on the parade. These aren’t hard done by people with no better options on the table. They’re not charities. They are also business people and I’m sure if they had a business opportunity the size of the one the owners have got then they would bite your arm off to take it!

    1. Rossi Post author

      Just for the record, Steve, we moderate comments to prevent spam. I hope the fact that it’s a bank holiday wasn’t too much of a problem for you to have had to wait for your comment’s approval?

      Which is the ugly building, Steve; The current red brick Firgrove block or a new complex with a 6 story, 80 bed hotel and 7 parking spaces right next to the road? The current building is only in need of some TLC because its descent into “ill repair” makes it easier to condemn.

      The owners of Firgrove Parade are Bride Hall who want the plot sold and flattened – petitioning them to make the current plot more presentable is pointless.

      Additionally, the borders of the plots of Firgrove an the Tumbledown are to be redrawn once both plots are sold – so objecting to the Firgrove project is part and parcel of saving the Tumbledown; you cannot save one without saving the other.

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