Friday, 22 February 2013

The Tumble Down Dick Latest

Yesterday I asked a question of Cabinet member Paul Taylor:

Can the Cabinet Member provide an update on the Tumbledown Dick Public House and advise on

       Why the premises is not listed and the status of the Council commissioned report
  Why the Council has no planning guidance for the protection of public houses like the   Tumbledown Dick
       The consultation arrangements for any planning application


Cllr Paul Taylor   

"Mr Mayor,

I am well aware of the high level of interest and feeling that the future of the Tumbledown Dick has generated in the local community.   I am particularly conscious of the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick campaign and of the many comments expressed on their Facebook site some relating directly to the Council’s position.
The Council has sought to cooperate with the Group and has provided a great deal of information and detailed responses to a range of issues.
As Members are aware, the property is not currently listed and a formal request to English Heritage to recommend it for listing has been turned down. In reaching this decision, English Heritage confirmed that they had taken into account the outcome of the report commissioned by the Council as well as the report prepared by the Campaign Group.  The Council’s report was commissioned from a credible organisation, which has provided advice to the Council is the past on historic building issues and has experience of working with English Heritage.
The Group has submitted further evidence to English Heritage and requested a formal review of their decision – I must stress that this a matter for English Heritage and the Council has no control or direct influence over the decision.
It is correct to say that the Council has no specific pub protection policies in place currently and we are not required to do so, however, in considering any planning application for the site – and it is important to be clear that no application has yet been received – I am assured that the  references  in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework to the role public houses can play in the provision of community facilities and the implications of their loss, will be taken into account.    It is our intention to look at a specific “pub” policy in the next stage of the Rushmoor Plan.  However, the current legislative position simply allows public houses to become shops without the need for planning permission.  
Finally, Mr Mayor, I can assure Members that the Council is known for undertaking comprehensive and meaningful consultation on planning applications, and we will do this with any applications for the Tumbledown Dick.   Quite apart from any pre-application consultation that MacDonald’s might have chosen to undertake – and this is recommended by government - the Council will publicise any future planning application for the site, erect site notices and write directly to affected parties in accordance with our established policy. I understand the Friends have been reassured they they will be consulted direct."

Supplementary Question:

‘Could the Cabinet Member explain what happens next following the ‘Asset of Community Value’ designation for the Tumbledown Dick’

"The Council’s decision to include The Tumbledown Dick on the list of Assets of Community Value will have no immediate impact.   Whilst there is in place a formal sale agreement the listing has no effect.   However, should the sale fall through, for whatever reason, a six-month moratorium would come into effect if the owner proposes to sell, during which the Friends could submit a bid to purchase the site. The owner is however not under any obligation to sell to any particular bidder."


Anonymous said...

Cllr Clifford,
Thank you for taking the time to publish some answers from Cllr Taylor. The Tumbledown issue is sometimes clouded by lack of information, particularly now time maybe running out for those who disagree with the proposed McDonalds.
I have two fundamental questions that still haven't been answered by RBC. Regardless of English Heritage listing ( which is currently in an appeal stage due to overlooked information), WHY was The Tumbledown Dick not locally listed (ie on the RBC list), and if this was an honest error then why has this not been rectified? There is considerable evidence pointing to this indeed being an error (ie lesser buildings being listed, The Farnborough Society assuming it WAS listed and more). And secondly, can the residents who have an interest in this matter have a straitforward response from ALL their councillors regarding their opinion on the matter? There have been responses from some councillors, including yourself, for which I am grateful for your openness. But until the cloud of misinformation surrounding RBC and the Tumbledown is lifted, there might be more confusion while people try and fill in the gaps.
Louise P. Farnborough.

Anonymous said...

A totally inadequate response from Paul Taylor.

The reply from Paul Taylor does not address the issues raised, and is to simply regugitate without question what has been fed into his ear by officials, and furthermore he knows his response not to be the truth on The Tumbedown Dick.

The council report was not commissioned from a reputable organisation, it was not an organisation that is expert in the field, it is an organisation that according to its own website delivers planning solutions for private industry, an organisation that welcomes the relaxation of planning controls, an organisation whose boss sees heritage as an obstacle to development.

The report itself is a shoddy piece of work that merely serves to demonstrate that it was the wrong organisation. A report that should be binned.

English Heritage did not base their decision on the local report, hence the appeal, they based it on the shoddy Rushmoor report. Furthermore, English Heritage made no site visit.

The Tumbledown Dick should be listed on the local list of buildings of historical importance. It meets the criteria. That it is not listed, lends one to believe it is missiing to faclitate demolition.

- Buildings of Local Historical Importance in Aldershot and Farnborough

National planning policy requires Rushmoor to have in place a pub protection policy. Cambridge has one, Islington has one. Why not Rushmoor? Again it would appear to be to facilitate demolition.

- Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

Where I would agree, the Asset of Community Value, was a meaningless gesture, as per advice from Borough Solicitor to Cabinet Members. Advice that hould be made public.

Far from answering question on The Tumbloedown Diock, members of the public have met the usual blooody-minded obstruction from officials.

Maybe Paul Taylor should start talking to and listening to members of the public who care what happens in their town, not oficials who act for developers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Councillor,
Firstly, let me thank you for your above comments but I do wish to have clarification on a few things, after all I am a member of the voting public, a resident of Rushmoor and ultimately one who will be voting for our next local representatives.

Firstly, I would like to know why the Tumbledown was never a listed building, I have heard tales of other councils that have awarded such a status to an American building from the 1980's.
The Tumbledown is a historical part of Farnborough and has provided a home and base for a lot of your residents for a long time, residents which I must add have been largely ignored in their requests for a truthful and frank answer from you Councillors on where you actually stand, be it with McDonalds or your residents.
In all honesty I feel we do deserve an honest answer and not the smoke and mirrors that have been employed up until now.

Secondly, I believe a bid was put in for the pub a long time ago and this was turned down as not a viable option because it would cause traffic concerns and affect an already busy road.
So, how can a McDonalds restaurant and drive thru be an acceptable response to that, a past bid has been made and turned down because of traffic increasing and now RBC are fine with a drive thru going there which would significantly affect that road?

Thirdly, I wish to tentatively ask whether RBC have in fact been willing at any point to listen to any counter proposal for the building as I am sure other, viable alternatives have been offered?
It looks like that beautiful building has been left to rot and whilst other bids have been made for it, they have all either been turned down or the groups connected have just turned a blind ear and been difficult to communicate with.

The council itself refuses to listen to it's citizens on this and whilst a novice in such matters, in my honest opinion it looks like this deal has been under the table for a while and whilst not 100% approved by RBC, it has been common knowledge within the council but not for the actual Rushmoor community.
Miss Claire Marshall

Anonymous said...

Councillor Clifford,
Could you explain how Rushmoor Borough Council has been awarded and still keeps the Fair trade stamp?
If you are truly committed to the ideals of Fair Trade, then how can ignoring your community, allowing big businesses to take over the high street at the cost of small businesses and allowing a company that clearly does not have fair trade concerns to move in, be a continuation of this?
How can Rushmoor present itself as a green, healthy living promoting, family orientated council when clearly it has no idea what these things actually mean?
The recent coverage of the Tumbledown Dick has only encouraged my opinion in this and I guess my main question is, how can RBC not care about what it's community thinks or wants?

Anonymous said...

I respectfully suggest to the movers and shakers at RBC, that to sort out the unholy planning mess that the Tumbledown Dick has become, a compulsory purchase order is the only answer. The ever increasing amount of signatures on the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick petition (both online and paper copies in local businesses) prove there is a mandate to do this.
Louise P, Farnborough

Anonymous said...

The Tumbledown Dick meets the criteria for the local list of historical buildings. The council has known this for several weeks. That it is still not listed one can only conclude it is not listed to facilitate demolition. Thus at the very least misconduct in public office, at worse corruption. Both of which are serious criminal offences which attract a prison sentence.

- Buildings of Local Historical Importance in Aldershot and Farnborough

Full cooperation, provision of detailed information, we are told in answer to excellent questions from David Clifford. Simply not true. Requests for information have met bloody-minded obstruction, FoI requests are refused. More than sufficient grounds for investigation by Information Commissioner (with whom a formal complaint should be lodged).

The role of councillors, is to honestly answer questions, to act for the local community, not repeat lies fed to them by officials, not jump when officials pull their strings.

The council, if the will was there, can easily save The Tumbledown Dick. They do so by listing the building on the local list (it meets the criteria for listing), by adopting a pub protection policy (as required to do so by national planning policy).

- Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

This council has sunk to a new low when it acts for McDonald´s not the local community, when the health of local children counts for nothing.

But then this council several years ago (and please do not laugh) sought funding from McDonald´s for what was jokingly described as a green festival!

Anonymous said...

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), in paragraph 70,
directs local planning authorities to plan positively for the provision and
use of community facilities such as Public Houses; and to guard against
unnecessary loss of such facilities.

Paragraph 50 of the NPPF places great emphasis on maintaining the
character and distinctiveness of an area; development is expected to
respond to local character and history and demonstrate an
understanding of the defining characteristics of an area.

Why was David Clifford lied to?

Anonymous said...

Contrary to what has been claimed, fast food outlets is a material planning consideration

The Government White Paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health
in England (2010) identifies that more than 1 in 5 children in England are overweight or
obese by age 3, with higher rates among some Black and Minority Ethnic communities
and in more deprived areas. The paper highlights the role of councils in taking action to
improve public health, including regulating the development of new fast food restaurants
in their role as local planning authority.

Why is the Council not implimenting government policy on health and controlling fast food outlets, or do they not care how far Rushmoor slips down national health indeces?

We have a council that cares more about the health of the balance sheet of McDonald´s than the health of local kids. A council in the pocket of developers, not accountable to the local community.

Anonymous said...

The role of local councillors is to act for the local community, to instruct officials accordingly. It is not to act for developers. It is not to take instructions from officials, especially those officials acting for developers and falling over backwards to push their agenda.

David Clifford said...

Thank you all for the comments left on this item. A number of questions have been raised. Those dealing with how the Council is dealing with the site and Cllr Paul Taylor's answer to my questions need to direct their questions to him.

If I can deal briefly on the role of ward councillors.

Our role is very much doing what is in the best interest of our community which I am very satisfied we have done. For years (not just the last few months) we have pressed for action on this site.

When we discovered McDonalds had made an offer on the site we held an emergency meeting with them (with council officers present for legal reasons)to establish what plans they had, and made clear the public interest and that any historic value should be incorporated and protected.

We have had a mixed response to what should happen on the site. The loudest and most vocal being those that want to retain and buy the site and turn it into a community pub.

It may shock you to know there are other opinions in the community, not organised and not as loud.

As a ward councillor, I have listened to all sides of the debate and believe the best option is a commercial solution, that does not require public money that is much needed to provide and sustain the important services and buildings we already have.

How that is done I mind not. McDonalds or any other private or commercial company, as long as it is not the council funding it.

As a keen family historian, I am also keen to retain any part of the site that is of historical value.

At this current time we do not have an application from McDonalds so we have nothing to consult the public or residents about. I hope that we see some something soon so we can all stop guessing and see on paper what the plans are and come to a decision after the consultation period.

Then we will have something factual to discuss.

Make no mistake, none of your ward councillors are acting or speaking for developers. If they were they would be barred from any involvement with this application.

We also recognise our duty to all the residents not just those who shout loudest. Our motivation is doing the right thing for Farnborough.

We also believe officers are there to advise and assist. We make the decisions and take the responsibility. Good councillors run your council not unelected officers. And I say that of all the Councillors of Rushmoor not just those in my party. They are all motivated to do the best for Farnborough, although sometimes we disagree on how we do that.

I believe many in the community have strong views, and are motivated for all the right reasons. Please be gracious enough to recognise that those who may disagree share the same motivation but simple have a different point of view.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to respond Cllr Clifford. Would it be possible for you to find out from your colleagues at RBC why the Tumbledown Dick was not on the Rushmoor local list, when arguably buildings of lesser local importance are? This is a question which troubles alot of Rushmoor residents at the moment.
Louise P.

David Clifford said...

Good question Louise and one I hopefully can answer. There is a little misunderstanding with this 'Listing' issue. There are three lists that people have referred to, and I will quickly detail each.
First is the National Listing that has three Grades, one, two or two plus. This list is held by the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport. English Heritage recommends listings and is the body currently reviewing the decision taken recently NOT to list in any grades the TDD.
Second listing is the now out of date Hampshire Treasures compiled I think in the 1980's. This also did not list the TDD. This list is pretty much redundant as many local authorities like Rushmoor have compiled a list of ' Buildings of local importance'.

This is our 3rd list. 'Buildings of local importance' is maintained by Rushmoor and offer no statutory protection as the National Listing does.It is an open document in that building can be added and taken off as needed. The council did consider the TDD but on consultant advice which highlighted the number of changes and lack of historic value left in the building, it was not included. Please not - that is not to ignore the sites historic value which is not in dispute.

The fact that it is not on the list, does not mean it cannot be added. This needs to be done in writing to the council with reasons for adding the building to the local list.

I should add that the list was widely publicised at the time (2011 I think)in the local press etc, so people have had a chance in the past to add extra buildings, but until now the TDD was not considered for the reasons above.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Some corrections/points David:

1)The TDD *was* in the Hampshire Treasures list, and remains so for all to see:

2)The buildings of local importance SPD consultation was performed as a five week process which ran from the middle of December 2011 to just after the middle of January 2012. Fully public access to this, at a time when people usually have other things on their minds consisted of a tiny advert with a cryptic headline tucked away in a paper not everyone reads, and a largely unadvertised link on a council website not everyone visits. Hardly an inclusive arrangement really, is it? evidenced by the fact that despite these methods and emails sent to a large number of people on the consultation list, there were just ELEVEN responses..

3)FOI information I have seen seems to indicate that the Farnborough Society were somewhat surprised that the TD did not make the list. This is subject of some contention but the opinion from my analysis of the documents and emails indicates that TFS were expecting to see it make the list in the end - only to find it was not in the final copy. Evidence of TFS opinion can be found here:

Which appears to date from late 2011 when this was going on. TFS have recently written to the Farnborough News to deny any change of heart, but to anyone that has read the details it seems a very strange turn of events..

4)Whilst much is made of the SPD process, there is very little actual documentation that I can find of the survey performed, who decided the list of sites to be surveyed and basically anything that details the thought process in a transparent way. It would be very helpful to our confused minds if such a set of documents was available to see. Maybe I've just missed it?

Personally, I think your willingness to at least engage on this subject is an example many of your colleagues could consider following. Unfortunately, Personal opinion is also that this consultation seems to have been poorly executed, not very open and not guided by a sense of real history. On the SPD list we see outhouses and stables etc that nobody is likely to see - yet the once focal point of the settlement and one of the catalysts for the growth of it is discarded like a piece of rubbish, left at the mercy of developers who do not care for our community in any way.

Baffling and shameful behaviour(at best)from the custodians of my beloved home town.

David Clifford said...

Thank you for the correction re Hampshire Treasures, which as I said has now be superseded.

I would suggest you make a case to Rushmoor as suggested to include the TDD on the Buildings of Local Importance.

Anonymous said...

Supplementary note:

Inclusion on the Hampshire treasure list alone is enough to consider it for addition to the local list. This is written in the SPD document, section 4.3. Other entry conditions are also easily justified.

Section 10.1 details the protection that local listing can provide a property:

"The Council will seek to protect and retain Buildings of Local Importance whenever possible. Demolition should only be agreed where the replacement is of such a high quality that the loss of the locally important building/structure will be adequately mitigated by a development that enhances the character of the local area. Where a loss is proven to be acceptable, the Council will require a full record of the building/structure to
be carried out and any features of local historical interest to be donated to an interested party e.g. the local archives at a library or incorporated into
the site's redevelopment"

I put it to you that had this arrangement been properly considered and had the TDD been protected in this manner, the incentive for predatory developers would have been greatly diminished, and perhaps the TDD may have found its way into the hands of those willing to give it the care and attention it so badly needs.

People have tried to do this since 2008 but the owners have simply refused to budge, probably waiting for a more lucrative deal - at the expense of our community.

Anonymous said...

A building or structure will only be added to the Local List if it meets the criteria. If a building or structure meets the criteria there will be no valid reason for omitting it. – Buildings of Local Importance, Draft Supplementary Planning Document, Rushmoor November 2011

The Council will seek to protect and retain Buildings of Local Importance whenever possible. Demolition should only be agreed where the replacement is of such a high quality that the loss of the locally important building/structure will be adequately mitigated by a development that enhances the character of the local area. – Buildings of Local Importance, Draft Supplementary Planning Document, Rushmoor November 2011

The Tumbledown Dick meets more than one criteria to be locally listed. It only has to meet one criteria to be listed. If it meets the criteria to be listed it has to be listed. If it is listed, then it is afforded a great deal of protection.

To date all we have heard is pathetic excuses for not listing.

Anonymous said...

The consultation on the local list, or at least those who were notified, was a long list of developers.

This by no means constitutes consultation with the local community.

Notification, posting a notice in an obscure place in the hope that no one sees, is not consultation.

Consultation is engaging with the local comminity, and heeding (not ignoring) what they say.

The local community has made it loud and clear, they wish to see The Tumbledown Dick retained as a public house and forming a music venue of some form.

The local community has also made it loud and clear, they do not wish to see a McDonald´s.

And yet the council is not listening.

The only voice they ever listen to is that of developers, developers who have over the last few decades have trashed both Farnborough and Aldershot.

The only voice that shouts loudly locally is money and its best friend greed.

David Clifford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Clifford said...

Dear Anonymous,

I believe you are mistaken.

The local Council has been very good at listening. It consulted a range of people and publicised the consultation in the local paper and on the web site. And as I said there is nothing stopping you adding the building now if you think it justified. Even if it did not meet criteria, the beauty is that this is decided by locally elected people that can overrule criteria if they feel it is justified. They all without exception, regardless of political party care about our community.

What is stopping you submitting a proposal to add the building? I'm sure it is not money or greed..

Rob Stevens said...


There appears to be too many anonymous people now, so I'll post with a name this time. I made the two initial responses to your post yesterday and I'm grateful for your post to accept the error about the Hampshire Treasures entry.

It does look like you have not read the rest of the post though. The second point I made is that the consultation was woefully inadequate because:

1) It spanned the Christmas holiday

2) The local paper advertising consisted of a narrow column (of the type ususally found lurking near the back of the paper)

3) The advert itself had a headline of 'NOTICE ON CONSULTATION ON SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING DOCUMENTS (SPDS)', which is not going to catch anyones eye. The actual subject was not mentioned (in small print) until the third paragraph of the text below, below one about car and cycle parking standards.

4) The paper selected is often not read beyond the first couple of pages, and many will rapidly line the bin, litter trays etc. This is not effective advertising of an issue.

5) As for the web site, there may well have been content in the planning section, but few people regularly go there. I used an internet archive to retrieve the RBC internet homepage from the 7th January 2012, only to find no links or obvious sign of the SPD consultation.

6) I did not visit the libraries during this period of 'consultation' because like many I was Christmas shopping or working. For a good proportion of the 5 weeks (15 Dec-16 Jan) people would have been off work with family/away or otherwise engaged.

The fact that only a total of 11 responses found their way back is a fairly good indication that not even those on the direct email list were aware or in a position to comment.

So please don't trumpet the consultation process as a model of openness. It was a bare minimum effort that had no intention of informing the public. It reminds me of the wonderful 'beware of the leopard' passage in the late Douglas Adams first Hitchhiker novel, but I would not be proud of the association.

As for the right to apply for listing - I think we may have to, despite the fact that discussions and representations have already been made some time ago. You may be misinformed here, but simply directing us to forms seems like a cheap way of deflecting the issue.

The notions of democracy in the selection process also seem a bit pale in the light of real world actions like the consultation and the dealings with the Farnborough Society, who are today seen in the paper towing a line that almost exactly apes the official line from RBC, which is not entirely surprising, considering the extent of overlap in leadership.

I'll leave it there, with dismay. You have not addressed points 3 and 4 either..

David Clifford said...

Hi Rob,

I totally sympathise with the point about the consultation. I think I shared rather than trumpeted it!!

And to address point 3 and 4. The paper is these days not the source of information it used to be. This is always a challenge and people often do not appreciate the importance of some of these items as on the face of it (and from their titles)they look pretty innocuous and sometimes extremely boring. The same is true of the web site.

Our best examples have been where we have had public displays in the town centre, and I think a lesson can be learned here. That in addition to local papers and our web. Town Centre displays should be a key part of every consultation.

I also take the point which is a valid one, that the timing is also important and over Christmas is arguably the worst possible time to consult or as cynics would argue, the best time to consult on something you don't want much feedback on. However, you could argue a town centre display at this time could have had a much higher profile.

Any other thoughts on improving communication I at least would very much welcome. The points you make are good ones.

Rob Stevens said...

Thankyou again David

I should point out that items 3 and 4 were more about the process and documentation of the SPD process itself. I have already used the SPD document, the consultation document and the adoption statement but there is no official record of what happened AFTER the consultation and what the external consultants reported back on. Perhaps I have missed them but they certainly aren't jumping out on me here.

FOI obtained emails are a confusing source - perhaps releasing the whole dossier would clear the issue of the listing process once and for all?

Claire Marshall said...

May I ask if the residents will be consulted again, perhaps not just the developers on a list?
Surely the shortcomings of the previous consultation process make it absolutely vital for another one to be put into action so there is an accurate and fair representation of the community's wishes?
As to your notion that a town center display over Christmas may in fact get more views, I am afraid I can only refute that with an opinion.
It is a recession time, families have less money but kids still want the best toys and what their friends have, money is tight, the heating bills are going up and if you are a family with one parent working, as I am, Christmas is an incredibly stressful time, trying to make sure the kids have the best day whilst still covering their bills.
I think you would find that most families are incredibly preoccupied at Christmas and any public notice in a town would surely be lost amongst the tinsel, the grotto and shoppers.
Though interestingly enough, if we kept the tumbledown as a community center, then you would have a public, community place that everyone can go to and see these plans, instead of searching for a paragraph in a paper.

Anonymous said...

I think most reasonable people can agree, no consultation took place on local listing. There is a world of difference between notification and consultation, and even if we look at the notification, it was to a long list of developers.

The Tumbledown Dick meets the criteria, the council from chief exceutive downwards has known for weeks that it meets the criteria for local listing, yet all we hear are pathetic excuses for not being listed.

Anonymous said...

We held an emergency meeting with McD´s at which officials were present ....

If officials were present then it was an official council delegation to McD´s.

If so, then who was there, names please, what was discussed, what was agreed, notes of meeting to be published.

If meeting with McD´s, then why no meeting with Friends of The Tumbledown Dick?

It all seems somewhat one sided.

Anonymous said...

When Council deals with a FoI request, they sit on it for 21 days (even though it could be dealt with in a matter of hours), then supply the absolute bare minimum they think they can get away with.

Not exactly the cooperation we were led to believe from Paul Taylor.

And that is of course not counting the request for information they simply ignore, lacking even the common courtesy of a reply that the request has been received.

Anonymous said...

This says it all:

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

David Clifford said...

Consultation: I will be taking this up with officers at the next opportunity over the coming weeks. I have not had any additional suggestions from anyone on how to improve consultation with the public. It is all too easy to find fault, not so easy often to find a practical solution. So far I think my idea to ensure a Town Centre display - manned by officers and members is the best one so far.

In answer to further consultation there are two answers. No further consultation as far as I am aware on the Buildings of local importance. But again - this list can be challenged and proposals submitted to add buildings you think should be on the list. So if you feel that strongly - do it.

Second. There is going to be a full and open consultation when a planning application comes in from McDonald's whenever that happens.

An additional thought I have had re consultation is that the Council does have a twitter page, that could be followed by all those interested in Council consultations - as this gives links and details of all consultations I hope.

I do refute in the strongest terms that the Council does not listen to the public. I think everyone involved from officers to elected members have made every accommodation possible, which I think most people will confirm. There always will be the few that will never be pleased - whatever you do.

That is not to say, that some things could be done better. That would be arrogant. Which I am not.

David Clifford said...

Now to the meeting with McDonald's.

This was done at ward Councillors request to find out exactly what McDonalds interest in the site was.

The meeting was held in the members room at Rushmoor Borough Council. All three ward councillors were there along with Keith Holland Rushmoor's Head of Planning to ensure no rules etc were broken. The three people representing McDonald's I do not recall but I believe they are involved in their PR and planning team. It was an informal meeting with no notes taken, and we discussed some ideas they were putting together for the site.

The ward councillors raised the issue of local importance, landmark, historic value, and the expectation that any historic value identified would be preserved.

Ironically, we expressed the desire that a comprehensive consultation should take place as soon as any application was made.

No planning views were expressed by my fellow councillors who are on the Development Control Committee, and will be considering any application that may be submitted.

The meeting lasted about an hour as I recall. Following the meeting a number of things were clear. McDonald's were serious about developing the site. McDonalds understood that this was a building of interest and that any historical building value discovered should be preserved. Before any application was submitted we wanted independent consultants to evaluate the property before any further decay.

Claire Marshall said...

Surely RBC would be able to get one of the local papers to print a more down to earth notice of a consultation, a full page on something the local council needs to draw attention to with no political jargon, just something simple that people would notice and make note of?
I am aware it is perhaps not the most high tech of solutions but I feel it could be a good one but it might be a good place to start.

David Clifford said...


A fair point,and one I will raise with the other points made.Common sense sometimes out smarts Hi Tech.

It is shameful that the press is noticeable by its absence at many important meetings, and do not cover as well as it could some stories. A simple question - how many truly Farnborough stories in the Farnborough News these days? as a percentage of the paper - very little.

David Clifford said...

Dear Rob et al,

A copy of the consultation document on the Buildings of Local Importance SPD can be found on the Council’s website at . It is the final document in the list of 3 shown on this web page.
The main formal public consultation on this ran for 5 weeks instead of the minimum statutory 4 weeks due to the holiday period (12 December 2011 to 16 January 2012) and was publicised in the local papers. As a result we get get a number of recommendations and representations from members of the public. About half a dozen from what I can see, which suggests the message was getting out there, and as I said, these sorts of consultations get little attention until planning applications start appearing.

The public consultation on the Farnborough Prospectus document (which included reference to refurbishment or redevelopment of the Tumbledown Dick) took place from 31 January to 2 March 2012, and this included an exhibition in Princes Mead from 31 January to 4 February 2012. This was extremely well publicised in the press. The exhibition in Princes Mead included a floor mat which stimulated a lot of interest.

Again to reinforce the point I have made earlier. If you want a building added to the list, it can be done now - just submit a proposal - it will be evaluated.

Finally, I want to make it clear there will be a further consultation when and if a planning application is submitted to Rushmoor by McDonald's. In addition to this those who want to speak against or in favour of the application will have the opportunity to do so, and directly address the Development Control Committee (Planning Committee) immediately before they make a public decision on the application.

So this site is going to get the maximum possible discussion and debate possible before any decision is taken.

I will be working this weekend, so please be patient with replies. I will try and keep up to date, but may have to catch up Monday. I wish you all a happy weekend either campaigning or relaxing or empathy from me if you are working.

Anonymous said...

Meeting held with McDd´s, but none with local people to hear what they feel about the site and its future.

Says it all does it not?

Convenient, no notes taken. This would not happen with Civil Service, why such low standards Rushmoor?

Consulation is engagment with the local community, taking on board and acting upon. This does not happen. If it did, we would not be where we are now.

The Council is well aware at the anger and disbelief at no listing for The Tumbledown Dick. It is a very simple matter to add to the list and issue a press release it has been done. We are waiting, we are tired of pathetic excuses for non-listing.

Telling people to fill out a form is to completely miss the point!

It is not only The Tumbledown Dick. What about the Ship Inn? How many more non-listings are there?

Those best placed to decide what is best for the local community, is the local community, not the council, and certainly not developers.

David Clifford said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are welcome to attend our ward surgery tomorrow between 10am and 12 noon at the Tilly Shilling (where we meet regularly with local people and discuss this with me in person. You have clearly misunderstood a number of issues and it may be better to discuss them in person.

Anonymous said...

What issues have people not understood?

We have a pub that has for some years stood empty. We have a pub that McD wish to destroy for an unwanted junk food outlet, with knock on costs in health. We have a council that is dong nothing to protect the site, no local listing, no pub protection policy in place. A council that is happy to see local businesses destroyed, that is happy to see heritage destroyed, that has no idea what consultation means, that lacks any understanding of how local economies work ....

David Clifford said...

Dear Anonymous,

I think you have misunderstood some issues not everyone or local people.

1. Pubs close that are uncommercial or not supported, or neglected. With the TDD we have a bit of each I would suggest.

2. It is on a historic site, and we will wait to see if English Heritage agree that it should have some form of listing following a review of their decision not to recommend a listing.

3. I think you are exaggerating to make a point, but I do not accept that our Council is 'happy' to see local business destroyed. Being involved in a local business myself I have to declare an interest if such a policy were in place.

4. Likewise being a keen family historian and fan of local historian Jo Gosney I also do not accept the Council is into historical or cultural extermination.

5. Consultation is good, and can always be better. There is clearly going to be huge interest in the next stage of consultation when the planning application for MCDonald's is submitted. I agree there is room for improvement, but would not accept it is as bad as some would like to make out.

6. Local economies is a complex one. How they work is a challenge, and everyone can see that with internet business increasing as fast as some high street shops are closing, we need to rethink the role of town centres and be much more imaginative. One thing is for sure - we are in a dynamic new world of commerce, where companies that cannot change and respond to consumers will perish. I would be very interested in innovative ideas to stimulate growth a development of local trade with as little public money as possible.

Must get back to work! I am suppose to be finishing our year end. But hope that clarifies where I think you have over stated your case.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest do a little research!

18 pubs a week are closing. Pubs are not closing because "uncommercial or not supported, or neglected", they are closing because greedy pubcos, zombie companies that can barely meet interest payments, are jacking up rents to pub landlords, selling off pubs for redevelopment.

The Tumbledown Dick meets the criteria for a local listing. We are still waiting for it to be listed. It is not listed because the council wishes to see it destroyed.

The council is only too happy to see local businesses destroyed. The trashing of Farnborough town centre, trashing of The Arcade in Aldershot, eyesore Westgate in Aldershot, parking meters in North Camp ...

Of local businesses destroyed in The Arcade, planners said they could go elsewhere!

If council is not into cultural cleansing of our heritage, why has so much been lost, why was the original Arcade demolished, why are Victorian buildings (if not older) earmarked for demolition in Wellingston Street in Aldershot, why has the council no policies in place to protect The Tumbledown Dick, why no local listing, why no pub protection policy ...?

Agreed, consultation is good, just a pity we never see any.

AS you lack understanding of how local economies work, the importance of recycling money within local economies, then I suggest you read the excellent work by New Economics Foundation and Transition Town Totnes (who helped kick Costa out of Totnes).

Hopefully this clarifies. And no, not overstating case.

Good luck with dissertation!

David Clifford said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for the additional reading, and clarification. I have a very keen interest in regeneration of local businesses.So will give the books a look up.

Thank you for the kind remarks about the dissertation. You are clearly well informed. All finished and a distinction to boot.

I know - I was shocked too. Perhaps the Doctorate should have a Town centre theme.....

Anonymous said...

Sorry if not clear, not books, organisations.

- New Economics Foundation

- NEF -Local Economies

- Transition Town Totnes

Regeneration can be achieved, but it is not achieved by bringing in developers.

David Clifford said...

Dear Anonymous,

Yes, I understood they are not books. Reading these days includes the Google encyclopedia....

Thank you tho, for the clarification.

Rob Stevens said...

Hello again David

You kindly offered to ask about obtaining more documentation from the original local listing process last week (the documents available fall far short of revealing anything about the advisory report and the decision making process)

Any luck?

David Clifford said...

Hi Rob,

I thought the link given and the related report at was pretty comprehensive.

For more detail: The advisory report went to Cabinet 13th March 2012, item 6 see, and Cabinet agreed to the list.

Hope this helps.

Rob Stevens said...

Sorry David, that is woefully inadequate:

1) The consultation document details what happened *after* the initial list was produced. What I was requesting is detail of how that initial list was arrived at by the consultants brought in to compile it. There is FOI evidence that TFS were informed that the TDD would be on the final list, but it never made it.

We want to know what really happened.

David Clifford said...

Hi Rob,

I think we are in the realms of conspiracy theory here. The facts sadly are pretty boring.

What happened *before* is very simple. Forum Heritage Services was asked to work with our officers to compile a list of buildings of local importance. This list became the draft SPD.

Reasons why the TDD was not added have been rehearsed tirelessly. However, if it is so important to add it, I cannot understand why we have not yet had a formal request to add it. (As far as I am aware)

This is a live list, where buildings can be added and taken away as agreed by locally elected representatives. Simple really

I do not accept what you say about the FOI evidence. I would like to see that - as I think it either does not exist or someone is exaggerating what it says.

Rob Stevens said...


I'm taking advice on release of the original, raw data to you. Needless to say I am quite confident that it will provide the reassurance that you need.

For reference, the email I am referring to show that Barbara was surprised (in Nov 2012) that the TDD was not in the list, and in fact surprised that TFS had seemingly been sidestepped in the conclusion of the process as well. The reply back from RBC was along the lines of 'the consultation happened, TFS attended, end of story', which isn't really the answer she was seeking.

This is markedly different from the publicised TFS stance now, and I am told that the email itself is referred to as misunderstood or that it did not even happen. I'll let you interpret it and make your own conclusions.

I do have access to all the raw data and note (to your credit) that you have been involved in several conversations over the years about the situation the TDD found itself in - although I also note that you were clearly saying TDD was a Hampshire treasure in communications, something you later stated the reverse of and caused me to correct you on this blog.

Please do not dismiss me as another conspiracy nut here. I'm not making accusations of x-files style deception here. I unfortunately spend a lot of my time embroiled in office politics and have also worked in the public sector, so have a good understanding of email threads and the like - what I see in the information available is indications of 'following process so it must be ok', failure to research the subject at hand fully and a degree of naivety when dealing with the private sector, especially large and powerful property developers.

Most of this can be forgiven, but unfortunately it has helped the grave situation we find ourselves in now develop, and stands to lose the town another piece of already scarce heritage. It isn't enough to use the words 'cock up' as a form of excuse (words of a councillor on the FB page recently) when the result is loss of something that can never be returned.

You do appear to understand the situation and our frustrations - but perhaps time to delve deeper into the facts?

I have checked and an application was certainly in progress. I'll let you know when I find out more.

Rob Stevens said...

Stop Press - Approval given, I'll be mailing you a screencap of printed and then scanned email shortly..

Anonymous said...

We are still seeing pathetic excuses.

The Tumbledown Dick meets the critera for listing, the evidence is there, the council is aware, and yet it is still not listed.

Even the shoddy worthless council report shows it meets the criteria, and the polciy is, unless it has been changed, if the criteria met, must be listed.

Nor for that matter is there in place a pub protection policy as required by national planning policy.

We can only form the conclusion that both are still lacking to enable the council to force through a McD application for an unwanted junk food drive thru.

Come on David, demand it is listed, demand a pub protection policy of the quality of that in Cambridge, and let us see what then happens next.

We alo need answers why Paul Taylor spouted a pack of lies fed to him by officials and what action will be taken against those officials.

David Clifford said...

Today I formally asked Planning to review the Tumble Down Dick for inclusion on the Buildings of Local Importance. Like the London Buses, another formal request had also arrived from a member of the public. So we can draw a line under why it wasn't on the list and get down to the real issue of whether it deserves to be on the list or not. I very much look forward to the Cabinets view and decision.

Anonymous said...

Well done David, pleased you have asked for The Tumbledown Dick to be listed, but there can be no excuse for it not to already be listed as it meets the criteria for listing and if it meet the criteria it has to be listed. This has been known by the council for some months.

- Buildings of Local Historical Importance in Aldershot and Farnborough

- The Tumbledown Dick Heritage Report

Please ensure it is well publicised when this is to be discussed. We do not want any back room secret deals.

Next we want a pub protection policy of the calibre of that in Cambridge, which has already saved several pubs. Why not download, change a few words, and adopt locally?

- Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

- Cambridge pub protection policy

And next we want an apology and correction for the lies that were told in response to the questions you asked on behalf of the local community.

The good news is, this is now getting national publicity, an Early Day Motion has been filed in the Commons. Has Gerald Howarth MP signed? If not, why not?

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

- Early day motion 1171 - McDonald's and Public Houses

Anonymous said...

Well done David, pleased you have asked for The Tumbledown Dick to be listed, but there can be no excuse for it not to already be listed as it meets the criteria for listing and if it meets the criteria it has to be listed. This has been known by the council for some months.

- Buildings of Local Historical Importance in Aldershot and Farnborough

- The Tumbledown Dick Heritage Report

Please ensure it is well publicised when and where this is to be discussed. We do not want any back room secret deals.

Next we want a pub protection policy of the calibre of that in Cambridge, which has already saved several pubs. Why not download, change a few words, and adopt locally?

- Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

- Cambridge pub protection policy

And next we want an apology and correction for the lies that were told in response to the questions you asked on behalf of the local community.

The good news is, this is now getting national publicity, an Early Day Motion (EDM 1171)has been filed in the Commons. Has Gerald Howarth MP signed? If not, why not?

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

- Early Day Motion 1171 - McDonald's and Public Houses

FTTD said...

David, that is very good news that the Tumbledown is being considered for the Local List and I very much hope the Council review the matter and all the evidence clearly, especially in light of their approval for an ACV. We trust you will keep us informed.
Many thanks
Fran Beauchamp
Chair Friends of the Tumbledown Dick

Anonymous said...

The All Party Parliamentary pub group has written to the Council asking why no pub protection policy in place, as required by national planning policy.

Please publish the response.

Anonymous said...

The Tumbledown Dick is not the only pub that meets the criteria and is not listed. What of The Ship Inn and The Queen Hotel (now derelict and boarded up)?

What too of the shops in Wellington Street either side of Lidl?