Tumbledown Dick protester launches fight to save Farnborough green area from redevelopment
A woman who protested against the redevelopment of the Tumbledown Dick pub has launched a campaign to turn the green space near Farnborough Leisure Centre into a village green.
Claire Marshall, 28, has started a campaign to protect the skate park, green space and pond from redevelopment by having the area awarded the special status.
Miss Marshall, of North Lane, Aldershot, said she had developed an interest in saving the space during the last few months but, as she was a member of the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick campaign group, and spoke at Rushmoor Borough Council’s development control committee meeting in opposition of the plans to turn the pub into a McDonald’s, she wanted to wait until a decision had been made on the pub before pursuing the separate plans.
She said: “This is a new campaign with a new, clean start. What we want is to get the green space village green status and if that doesn’t happen we will try to get it as protected as possible.
“I’m not saying don’t develop that area, but there is plenty of space for redevelopment, with the police station and the library being there, without having to touch the green space.
“I think if it was protected it would show more people from the community what is available to them, a lot of children use the skate park there and if that is destroyed there will be nowhere else for them to go.”
Miss Marshall, who also protested against proposed development at Firgrove Parade in Farnborough, launched the Facebook campaign group, the Rushmoor Green Preservation Society, on October 16 and submitted a village green application to the council, which owns the land, on Tuesday.
The site is part of the council’s vision to invest £250 million into the town over the next 10 years and is currently earmarked for future development.
Plans as to what exactly the space will be used for will be determined by the council and any potential developers.
Miss Marshall tried to get community group The Farnborough Society on board with her campaign, but they refused as they said the redevelopment of the site was a higher priority for the town than the green space.
Barbara Hurst, chairman of The Farnborough Society, said she hoped to have a new arts centre built at the site with a music venue and performance space. She said: “At this point nobody knows exactly what will go in there, redevelopment would depend entirely on the developer, and I fear the proposal to award it village green status would seriously limit the attractiveness of the site for developers.
“I walk through that area all the time and I have never seen anyone picnicking there or using the facilities, it just isn’t used anymore.
“Generally I do like to preserve green spaces but, at the end of the day, we are surrounded by countryside and we have to be a bit more hard-nosed about the town centre.
“I would hope that any development would try to incorporate some of the more valuable features of the site, but we simply don’t know what will happen.”
All Village Green applications in Hampshire are processed by Hampshire County Council. The applicant is told of any errors with the application before a six-week window for members of the public to make comments.
A public inquiry is held in cases where evidence to support the application is considered to be conflicting with other evidence.
Every application is judged on its individual merits and a decision is made by the council’s regulatory committee.