What’s Best For Farnborough?

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On the Farnborough Road, this pub lies derelict. What has come to a head over the past couple of weeks are the possible scenarios for the fate of the building.

1) It is turned into a McDonald’s – indications of the chain’s intentions have already been made public.

2) A campaign is running to save the building and restore it to use as a pub, but this is contingent on defeating the McDonald’s planning application, and then raising money to buy, refurbish and operate the pub again.

I would prefer option 2 with a pub over option 1 any day, but there is extreme risk here that if the required funds are not found, then the pub simply lies derelict for another five years or more.

I have published figures that show the magnitude of the sums required, certainly anywhere between £1M to £2.5M is likely to be needed to purchase the site and refurbish it to a usable condition and modern standards.

If the pub was already in operation, it would be a simpler matter. The big risk is that planning is thwarted, and Farnborough is simply left with a derelict building – an embarassing, empty eyesore – for years to come.

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2 Responses to What’s Best For Farnborough?

  1. simontaylor says:

    A recent post by FoTTD complains that Rushmoor BC will not have a meeting with them –

    “We asked the head of Democratic Services to help us organise a meeting with the Councillors at Rushmoor Borough Council so that Friends of the Tumbledown could present our vision and prove we have a viable alternative to the McDonald’s proposal. We have been refused.

    Rushmoor have replied : ” at the present time, our councillors have taken the view that a council-organised meeting would not move the issue any further forward for them, given the uncertainties around the premises and the information already in circulation, including from the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick. If you choose to organise an event, which you invite our councillors to, it will be up to them, as individual councillors, to decide if they attend, or not.”

    Our request of a meeting was not to instigate things moving forward, It was simply to educate people to our intentions and to put their minds at ease that we do in fact have a credible alternative. As we understand – the McDonald’s planners will have the opportunity to meet with the planning committee and present to them their vision. Before the RBC planning committee come to a decision, wouldn’t it be sensible, democratic and fair for them to hear other opportunities that are on the table? Where is the democratic process Rushmoor?”

    What they have failed to understand is that planning is NOT a democratic process. Planning meetings will look at the application in front of them & establish if it is within legal & local guidelines.

    If the group have an alternative, the only way to meet the planners is to put in a counter-proposal to the site owners and convince them to sell or lease the site to them.

    It’s Bridehall who own the site, not Rushmoor, after all. They could decide to reject McDonalds now and re-open as a pub. Why not? If there was more money in it, they would. I’m sure a lease would be on offer to the right business plan too.

    If you have the funding, then why not put in a proposal to Bridehall who own it? Otherwise, McDonalds will put their planning in, then it will almost certainly be too late. Get on with it.

    • simontaylor says:

      A week on and it seems that FoTTDD are simply waiting for planning. I don’t understand that strategy now that they have a “viable business plan”.

      If they have a viable business plan, they should take it to the owners of the site and get on with it.

      Otherwise, they are relying on the chance of blocking planning – which is unlikely to happen, then having six months to take the same business plan (?) to the owners and do the same thing. Of course, if planning is blocked, then the site value may decrease a little, so maybe the strategy is to save some money, but it’s a gamble.

      It will be sad if history later shows that the gamble didn’t pay off.

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