At the tail end of this year’s summer time, a mighty oak tree came down beside the Tumbledown Dick pub in Farnborough. It didn’t fall, it was cut down.
That Oak tree had stood for hundreds of years and had a healthy, green leafy canopy – It was a pleasant part of the Farnborough Road and, as with all Oak trees, probably supported a large number of species of birds and insects.
So, to see the tree come down, one that had stood over the neighbouring pub for more generations than I’ve ever traced back of my own family, was sad to say the least. A little bit of England has been felled, biodiversity in that small pocket of land has been altered dramatically and the abandoned pub we all love is exposed even further to the elements.
So why was that grand old oak tree cut down?
It’s been a busy year, especially with the pressures of work and my wife expecting our second child, so I admit I didn’t find out why the oak was chopped down.
But then, on Facebook, there was a buzz surrounding the news – concerned residents started flocking to a new Facebook group, Save the Tumbledown Dick.
Somebody paid to look at the Land Registry for the empty pub at 227 Farnborough Road – McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd were on the official document!
An emergency meeting was called at Rushmoor Borough Council.
Someone took the reigns and a committee was set up.
MP Sir Gerald Howarth was consulted, a meeting was planned with RBC, the Chief Executive was there to meet two campaigners.
Freedom Of Information requests were put in to the council.
The Tumbledown Dick made the frontpage local news for four weeks in a row.
The FOI request came back – The council had known about plans for a two-storey McDonald’s restaurant and the notion of demolishing the pub since April 2012, maybe even before that.
Frustration, anger, demonstrations, letters, talk, support, finance, thinking, ideas, action, plans, resistance, diversity…
Do you want the “Golden arches” in the Farnborough Road, opposite existing fast food retailers? (All independent small businesses, I might add)
Do you want a contemporary box instead of a heritage building?
Want to see a building with hundreds of years of history disappear forever to be replaced by a glorified shed that nobody will ever love?
Then Save the Tumbledown Dick. There are 1,200 McDonald’s and only one Tumbledown.
Sign the petition to reject the domineering fast food giant and bring back our pub, save our history and return it to the community.
Click the link below, sign the petition and save the Tumbly.
For the official campaign to save the Tumbledown Dick, visit the website of the Friends of the Tumble Down Dick.