Extended consultation period delays decision on plans to turn pub into fast food chain
Opponents to plans to build a McDonald’s on the site of a historic pub in Farnborough have learnt a decision has been delayed, after they were granted more time to make their feelings known.
Due to the sheer amount of public interest and fierce protests against proposals to turn the Tumbledown Dick, in Farnborough Road, into a fast food outlet, a decision on whether to allow it to go ahead has been put back by a month.
A decision had been expected at Rushmoor Borough Council's development control committee meeting on September 11, but councillors will now consider it at the following meeting on October 9 after the consultation period was extended from 21 days to six weeks, ending on September 6.
After months of anticipation, McDonald’s submitted the plans to the council at the end of July, having previously been expected in April.
Members of protest group Friends of the Tumbledown Dick, which formed last October, have led the arguments against the plans, and chairman of the council’s development control committee, Councillor Gareth Lyon, confirmed that the amount of interest in the plans had resulted in the extended consultation period.
“It’s really been a courtesy by the council to extend the deadline for submissions,” said Cllr Lyon.
“Because part of the consultation process was during the summer holidays, they wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to have their say.
“There has been significant interest and representations made for and against it.
“I know, having spoken to council officers, that everything is being looked at very closely.”
Around 45 residents’ responses have been registered with the council so far, with a slight majority being against the plans.
Meetings were held by McDonald’s with residents, councillors and Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth, in which it was said that 65 new jobs would be created for people in the area.
The vacant pub, which is believed to have existed since the 1600s, has hosted music performances by the likes of Reuben, Hundred Reasons and The Jam.
Protestors have argued the importance of this heritage, however some councillors have been equally outspoken against the protestors.
At a full meeting of Rushmoor Borough Council in June, Cllr Barbara Hurst argued that claims the pub was once a ‘world class music venue’ were exaggerated and that the pub should be seen as ‘essentially a 19th century building and not a Jacobean jewel’.
Cllr Lyon added: “The council is being pragmatic here. We’re aware there’s been a lot said about it and it looks right, and it is right, to give people longer.
“There has been quite a long consultation now, so I wouldn’t expect it to be delayed further.
“Nothing is set in stone until the week before the meeting agenda comes out, but I would expect this to be heard on October 9.”