In Farnborough a local pub, the Tumbledown Dick was closed almost six years ago and lies derelict. It has been bought by McDonald’s and will now become a drive-thru(sic) restaurant. Since it closed, another pub opened around the corner. The old pub was the subject of much local attention, but now things seem to have become a lot quieter in the town.
The campaign group, Friends Of The Tumbledown Dick, apparently secured funding to re-open the pub as a music venue and community centre in the event that McDonald’s pulled out and the building came up for sale. But now, the silence is deafening, and I am wondering if there actually is the demand for such a venue in Farnborough at all? Is there an interest in moving that funding to a different location, or was there never really any motivation for a live music venue?
Since the refurbishment of the Swan pub just down the road, there is live music there. Agincourt up the road in Camberley caters for the more ‘hard core’ music fans and there are many other pubs local to Farnborough that host open mic nights and live music. Even the Village Hotel that opened since the Tumbledown itself closed is now hosting live music.
There are plenty of potential venues with the police station coming up for sale soon, and a vacated car showroom just down the road that is for sale (I fear this will actually become a Tescos Local, or another drive-through, it’s a prime location). Both of these sites could also be re-developed, plus there are also units in the town centre that could be used – potentially attractive as the cinema opens and we get new restaurants, too. Plus, the cinema may be able to host live music?
For more formal events like concerts, recitals etc., Princes Hall in Aldershot is there, with plenty of spare capacity.
David Clifford, a local councillor, has tried to move this forward, but just seems to get mostly vitriolic comments, as if those commenting don’t appreciate any help.
So, could Farnborough even sustain another venue, with the existing competition? Anything that might open for business clearly has to make a profit, and it’s not the responsibility of the council to open such a venue. I’m not sure the demand is really there, anyway.