Welcome to The Sarsen Stones – Farnborough’s New Pub.
So we’ve lost The Tumble Down Dick, The George, The Queen’s Head, The Imperial Arms, The Potters Arms, The Old Courthouse and The Ham & Blackbird.
One of our pubs was infamously turned into a fast food restaurant (a very sore point and a personal one too), one was defiantly demolished and now sits as a pile of rubble, another was turned into a Tesco Express, one is still standing empty and the others have all been replaced by multiple dwellings i.e. blocks of flats etc.
What has always pissed me off about the loss of our local pubs is this:
- Greed seems to be the prime motivator behind the destruction of public houses. Why have a small, steady income from a £500,000 property with a big garden and a car park when you can build 24 dwellings, sell them all off at an average of £150,000 each? It’s a no-brainer as a numbers game. I can make £3,600,000 gross on that sale and to hell with the neighbours; I don’t have to live there, and I trouser a tidy sum so up yours, everybody.
- I’ve heard on numerous occasions the cry from construction firms, large and small, that “there’s no money in building houses anymore”. Bullshit. Why do they still do it then, out of the kindness of their hearts? I didn’t know they were so charitable, maybe I should ask a builder for a nice 5 bedroom ex detached property for me and my family then.
- That’s another little bit of our history and heritage that’s been destroyed. Every building has a story but pubs have richer stories – the breweries that owned them, the ales that were served, the bands that played there, the reputations and the character, all gone now and to be replaced by what? You’ve lost a lot of culture there too.
- Yes, people need houses. Yes, we all need somewhere to live and so will our children and their children one day. But as our population grows so we will need more places to be social. More homes and less pubs? It doesn’t take a genius to realise that doesn’t compute.
- People are bigger and taller than they used to be. So why are our homes getting smaller? Why are Gardens smaller and parking spaces less? I fear for our collective mental wellbeing when we lose small plots of green space as part of our own homes and get frustrated that 5 bedroom houses have a double garage, one parking space and no on-road parking.
So I have many problems with the loss of our pubs. And I feel powerless to do anything about it. The landowners know that too, hence why The Tumbly was so cynically allowed to be neglected and The Ham & Blackbird so belligerently destroyed.
But am i being the cynical one here?
We have new pubs in Farnborough. The Tilly Shilling. Right underneath the Travel Odge where visitors try to get a good night’s sleep. Or how about The Gloster, another Hungry Horse establishment. I’ve visited these new pubs maybe a couple of times each. They really don’t appeal to me in the slightest.
But we do have The Sarsen Stones, Farnborough’s new pub in Summit Avenue, Southwood. It’s a Marston’s pub. It’s new, and it’s been touted as a “hub” so this could be better than the Wetherspoon or The Hungry Horse. So let’s wait and see.
I look forward to visiting it, even if it is just the once.
And what’s in a name? The Sarsen Stones? Well that’s down to the local stone circle, Farnborough’s very own Stonehenge. And where’s that, you might ask? Well, all the local yokels pulled that down years ago. There are Sarsen stones in the walls along Victoria Road and supposedly there was a stone circle nearby from which these stones came. I was once told Cove Green but it may have been on the site of Farnborough Hill school.
- For further reading take a look at Farnborough’s mini Stonehenge