As a decision looms on the future of the old Tumbledown Dick pub, here are the arguments of the people campaigning for it to become a community music and arts venue and those who think McDonald's is the best option for the site
Gavin Harris, founder of Support Tumbledown Dick McDonald’s
I have seen the Tumbledown fall into disrepair over the years and nothing has really happened to it.
McDonald’s are bringing jobs to the area and regenerating the area.
The worst case scenario is for the Tumbledown Dick to remain derelict.
There is still no evidence that the Friends group can follow through with their proposals to make the pub a community/live music venue, and that could leave the Tumbledown Dick as a derelict building.
I am not against the idea of having a community venue, but it has to be viable.
I'm pleased to see that there is a recommendation to grant planning permission for the new McDonald's on the Tumbledown Dick site.
With only 590 objections, it shows that the silent majority in Farnborough have no issue with this development.
McDonald's have been the only viable option to come forward to provide regeneration of the derelict building, that will require significant investment.
It is disappointing to see that even this far into the process, the "Friends of the Tumbledown Dick" are still unaware of the planning process, calling for councillors to look at the "needs of the people" of Farnborough, when this is not a material planning consideration.
Judging by the way that they have run the campaign against the planning permission, it gives me no confidence that they would be able to successfully raise the funds to acquire and refurbish the building and run a profitable community centre.
To date the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick have given no evidence of a business plan or that their idea is viable. McDonald’s will bring more jobs to the local area, and will preserve the character of the building, which if left alone could fall into further disrepair.
Fran Beauchamp, chair of Friends of the Tumbledown Dick
The Tumbledown Dick is a heritage asset as defined in planning law. Even McDonald’s own Historic Assessment states they are in no doubt that the Tumbly has been an integral part of the fabric of Farnborough since at least the late 17th century.
We are striving to preserve this valuable part of Farnborough for generations to come. We are fighting the neglect of the building, including what appears to be a commitment to continue this neglect should the application be rejected. This tactic could be seen as trying to force the hand of the local authority.
There are material planning considerations that have been overlooked by the planning officer. We have submitted our rebuttal to the planning officer's recommendation to the Development Control Committee.
Friends of the Tumbledown Dick have commitment for funding in place from critically acclaimed organisations which will enable us to enact our right to bid if the planning is refused and the owners market the property.
Farnborough is fast becoming a clone town and we should be protecting everything that makes us unique. We, as a community group, have a sustainable alternative to McDonald’s which will ensure the long term viability of this heritage asset for future generations.
Farnborough has no dedicated entertainment venue on offer to residents or the thousands of visitors who stay here on business. It is very sad that we are forced to travel to other towns to find live entertainment.
We would like to revive the fortunes of this wonderful old building, re-open it for existing and future generations and utilise the dedicated venue for arts, dance and above all live music.
We also have plans to provide apprenticeship schemes for the unemployed to give them a helping hand in learning a trade and offer them supported living accommodation.