Eric Pickles has rejected an appeal to review the decision to turn the Farnborough pub into a McDonald's and Friends chairman Fran Beauchamp resigns
An appeal to overturn the decision to make the Tumbledown Dick pub a McDonald’s restaurant was rejected on the same day as the campaign chairman resigned.
Following the decision on October 9 by Rushmoor Borough Council’s development control committee to allow McDonald’s to partially demolish the Farnborough pub building and open on the site, campaign group Friends of the Tumbledown Dick lodged an appeal to the Secretary of State for communities and local government, Eric Pickles.
However, having reviewed the decision, Mr Pickles informed the council on October 30 that there was ‘no sufficient reason’ to call in the decision, leaving McDonald’s no further obstacles to its plans.
Fran Beauchamp, chairman of the Friends, then announced she was stepping down from the post 'with great sadness'.
A government letter addressed to the council stated that the planning application had been judged against set policies to determine whether it was unacceptable. These include whether it had a significant long-term impact, effect on economic growth, housing needs or whether it would cause national controversy, architectural and urban design issues, or the interests of national security or of foreign governments.
The letter said: “The policy makes it clear that the power to call in a case will only be used very selectively.
“The Secretary of State has carefully considered the impact of the proposal, and the key planning policy issues which this case raises. In his opinion, the proposals do not involve a conflict with national policies on important matters.
“The decision as to whether to grant planning permission will therefore remain with Rushmoor Borough Council.”
Work on the site is expected to begin early next year.
The Tumbledown Dick has been vacant since it closed following a failed health inspection in February 2009 and was the subject of a long fight by protesters who valued its heritage and wanted to see it reopen as a music venue.
Announcing her resignation via the group's Facebook page, Ms Beauchamp said: "To everyone who has supported us, attended our demos, made banners and stood holding them in freezing cold and boiling hot days, came to our gigs, played at our gigs, signed our petition, wrote an objection, bought a T-shirt, showed your support and cared about this campaign, I would like to say a huge heartfelt thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to what we were trying to do over the past year."
She said while she's made some wonderful friends, she had been "the target of tremendous nastiness and hate" during the course of the campaign, adding that she now intends to spend more time with her family.
"I had hoped to lead a further campaign to get a new music venue in Farnborough but I can no longer cope with being the figurehead in my own time and as such, the target of other's hateful and personal comments," she added.