This timeline shows the key events in our fight against Tesco’s plans to convert the Golden Harp pub into a Tesco Express.  Please also see here for an overview of what we are trying to achieve.

Throughout, we have also been writing many letters to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead planning department, our councillors, and our MP, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May.

July 2014

Wed 2nd – Memorial Service for the Golden Harp

Press articleMourners bid farewell to much-loved Golden Harp pub

June 2014

Fri 20th – Mark creates a government e-petition: Save our Pubs, change the Planning Laws

Wed 4th – A sad day; Tesco Express opens for business at the Golden Harp

April 2014

Tue 29th – RBWM Council unanimously votes to pass the following FPAG/CAMRA motion proposed by Cllr George Bathurst:  “This council asks that the Government help protect community pubs in England by ensuring that full planning permission and community consultation are required before community pubs are allowed to be converted to betting shops, supermarkets and pay-day loan stores or other uses, or are allowed to be demolished.”

Mon 14th – Results of the the FPAG’s Residents’ Survey are released. Headline results are: 94% of residents are concerned about the increase in traffic and/or risk of accidents when the Tesco Express opens and are concerned about the safety of children walking to and from school. 79% said they would boycott the Tesco Express

Wed 9th – The hearing for Tesco’s alcohol premises licence is held. The panel decided to allow Tesco to sell alcohol during their opening hours from 06:00am to 11:00pm every day of the year

March 2014

Thu 20th – Following a request from the FPAG, RBWM council remove the dropped kerb on Furze Platt Road in front of the Golden Harp. This will prevent Tesco from using it as an entrance

FPAG conduct a residents’ survey to elicit views on the opening of the Tesco Express and ways to mitigate the predicted increase in traffic movements around the site

February 2014

Tesco apply for a license for the “retail of alcohol off the premises – Monday to Sunday from 06:00 until 23:00″

January 2014

Tesco begin work on converting the Golden Harp. Previously, the Maidenhead Advertiser had reported that: “Tesco says it will update the community once it has a clearer timetable for starting work”. But Tesco haven’t done that, despite starting work and fixing an opening date of May 2014. A sign on the hoarding claims that Tesco are “working with the local community to make a difference”(!)

December 2013

Sun 8th – We once again have a stall at Furze Platt School’s car boot sale to raise campaign funds and collect petition signatures

Fri 6th – The result of Tesco’s planning permission appeals is published. Although appeals were allowed on the most recent shop front, plant equipment, bollards and signage applications, they were refused permission on four of the original planning applications including the all-important hardstanding

Press articleGolden Harp campaigners celebrate next ‘victory’ in pub battle

November 2013

Sun 10th – We have a stall at Furze Platt School’s car boot sale to raise campaign funds and collect petition signatures

October 2013

Tue 22nd – Hey Tesco! – The FPAG’s Protest Song is released

Thu 17th – Tesco’s appeal against the refusal of their planning applications is heard. Planning officer Isobel McCretton presides. A decision is expected by the beginning of December
Press articlePlenty of coverage in CAMRA Angle magazine – Issue 33

Wed 2nd – Tesco & Central Midlands Estates’ appeal against the listing of the Golden Harp as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) was refused by the Royal Borough

September 2013

Sat 7th – Mark appears on Nicki Whiteman’s BBC Berkshire radio show, along with Steve Goddard from CAMRA

Tue 3rd – Working party to weed the flowerbed and cut the lawn outside the Golden Harp

August 2013

Sat 24th – More petition signatures are collected at the Stag & Hounds beer festival

Sun 18th – The Golden Harp is mentioned in a Sunday Mirror article about pubs being listed as Assets of Community Value

Tue 6th – A working party spruces up the perimeter of the Golden Harp, which has been neglected by CME and Tesco and become an eyesore. The grass was cut, new shrubs and flowers were planted, and hanging baskets installed. All plants were donated by FPAG members

Thu 1st – We reach our immediate fundraising target of £570. This will enable us to incorporate as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) and a limited company. Having a formal legal entity (company) is necessary so we can begin the business of running The Golden Harp as a community pub.

July 2013

Plenty of letters in the Maidenhead Advertiser this month, both for and against Tesco Express at the Golden Harp

Tue 30th – We submit our response to the appeal by CME against the successful listing of the Golden Harp as an Asset of Community Value

Mon 29th – Jim, Ryan and Mark had a phone call with Beth Greenhouse, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager. A summary of this call can be found here. Ultimately, the message from Tesco is: “Tesco is going ahead with this store”

Sat 27th – Research by Rachel shows that CME did not purchase the freehold title for the Golden Harp in isolation, but in a bundle with two other Enterprise Inns pub titles for a combined total of £2.25m. Both of these other pubs – the Picketty Witch in Yeovil and the Cherry Tree in Grantham – are now Tesco Express stores

Wed 24th onwards – We begin going door-to-door to collect petition signatures

Sat 20th – We have a pitch at the inaugural Maidenhead beer festival, where we gather further petition signatures and sell some Save the Harp t-shirts.

Press articleAll hail to the ale at Maidenhead beer festival (Windsor Observer)

Sun 14th – Once again, CAMRA invited us to join their stall at Maidenhead farmers’ market. Carrie & Mark held a second pop-up pub party in their front garden.

Wed 10th – We discover that we only have until 19th July to put together statements against Tesco’s planning application appeals

Sat 6th – CAMRA kindly let us join their stall at Maidenhead farmers’ market. Our new posters (courtesy of Angus) were unveiled, and 300 signatures were collected on our new petition calling for Tesco to pull out of the Golden Harp site. We also raised some money through t-shirt sales and donations

Thu 4th – Mark & Pete attend a Department for Community & Local Government (DCLG) meeting, where much useful information was gleaned

Wed 3rd – Online petition started “The department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Stop my community pub being turned into a Tesco Express”

June 2013

Mon 17th – CME lodge an appeal against the successful listing of the Golden Harp as an Asset of Community Value

Fri 7th – Tesco appeal the refusal of their January planning applications. However, the FPAG did not become aware of this until mid- July

Wed 5th – DCP hearing again votes unanimously to reject Tesco’s remaining 5 planning applications, and calls on Tesco to withdraw. We hear that the Thames Valley police have submitted a report raising concerns over the increased traffic a Tesco Express would generate

Press articleTesco plans for Golden Harp pub thrown out again (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Tues 4th – At the 11th hour, Tesco withdraws their application for hard-standing. A police report condemns the use of the Golden Harp site as a convenience store, citing traffic reasons. Jim gets ‘Save the Golden Harp’ t-shirts printed up, just in time for the DCP meeting

Sat 1st – Carrie & Mark organise a ‘pop-up pub’ in their front garden next door to the boarded-up Golden Harp. A lovely sunny day was also arranged!

Press articleGolden Harp campaigners open ‘pop up pub’ (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Leaflet drop to local residents asking that they attend the DCP meeting on 5th June

May 2013

Thu 16th – Further explanation on the Article 4 decision received from Cllr Derek Wilson: “An Article 4 direction was not an available option as the applicant had already demonstrated clear intent to change the use of the premises. It was therefore too late for the Council to serve an Article 4 direction.” and “The Panel was not prepared to take the risk of a significant compensation payment”

Thu 9th – A press release from RBWM states that the DCP voted against serving an Article 4 direction. No clear reasoning was given – only that “there was little realistic chance that an Article 4 direction could be served”.

Press articleCampaigners vow to fight on to save Golden Harp (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Press articleGolden Harp pub campaign suffers setback (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Wed 8th – DCP meeting to decide whether an Article 4 Direction will be served on the Harp. Many residents turned out, but were excluded from witnessing the Panel’s debate and had to wait until the following morning to hear the decision

Leaflet drop to local residents asking that they attend a crucial DCP meeting on 8th May

Fri 3rd – FPAG conducts a third traffic survey

April 2013

Tue 23rd – Council meeting almost unanimously (one against) votes to defer the decision of enacting an Article 4 Direction to the Development Control Panel (DCP) on 8 May 2013, after a good debate!

Press articleRoyal Borough backs legislation to keep Tesco away from the Golden Harp (Royal Borough Observer)

Press articleTesco could be forced to submit full plan for Golden Harp site (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Leaflet drop to local residents asking that they attend a crucial council meeting on 23rd April

Fri 19th – FPAG conducts a second traffic survey

Mon 15th – RBWM confirms listing of the Golden Harp as an Asset of Community Value, the second ACV in the Borough and first pub

Press articleGolden Harp to be listed as ‘Community Valued Asset’ (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Fri 13th – FPAG carries out a traffic survey, counting vehicles and pedestrians entering Tesco Express on Bath Road and two nearby pubs – The Windsor Castle and the Pond House. This is to test the theory that a Tesco Express generates far more comings and goings than a pub does. The theory is proved correct!

Thu 11th – Tesco submits six new planning applications

Tue 9th – FPAG holds a public meeting to discuss ideas for transforming the Golden Harp into a community pub. A skills register is also started, to record how residents would be able to help

March 2013

Mark (Chairman of FPAG) asks for pledges of funds to buy the Harp, and for legal fees, raising £26k in three days

Wed 13th – Development Control Panel (DCP) hearing votes unanimously to reject Tesco planning applications and calls on Tesco to withdraw

Press articleTesco plans for Golden Harp rejected by councillors (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Consultation for objections closes with approx 200 letters from residents received, with only one in favour of a Tesco Express at the Golden Harp site. (It’s difficult to confirm precise numbers, because many were scanned in together!)

FPAG writes an open letter to councillor David Burbage asking for an Article 4 Direction to be issued on the Golden Harp. If granted, this would remove permitted development rights, and require Tesco to apply for full planning permission

Press articleGolden Harp campaigners call for planning law to be used to halt Tesco plans (Royal Borough Observer)

February 2013

Fri 22nd – Enterprise Inns sells the freehold of the Golden Harp to an unknown third party, which, after weeks of Council efforts, is finally revealed as Central Midlands Estates, a subsidiary company of Midlands Co-Operative

Tue 19th – Petitions submitted to Council – these comprised over 4,000 signatures

Press articleThousands back Tesco plan petition for Furze Platt pub (Royal Borough Observer)

Mon 18th – FPAG submits an application to nominate the Harp as an Asset of Community Value

Sat 16th – FPAG protests outside the new Bath Road Tesco, and goes inside to play crib – this is in response to Simon Petar’s (Tesco Corporate Affairs) assurance that residents would be able to use the store as a ‘meeting place’

Press articleGolden Harp pub protesters stage demo against Tesco in store (Royal Borough Observer)

Tesco starts ‘minor works’ i.e. ripping the heart out of the Harp

Mon 4th – Tesco submit planning applications

January 2013

Tue 22nd – FPAG holds a public meeting, with Tesco attending to discuss the plans for the site. Residents tell Tesco reps that Tesco is not welcome. Tesco reps tell the residents that Tesco is coming, whether residents want it or not… Shortly after, hoarding goes up around the Harp

Press articlePublic meeting held over Tesco plans for Golden Harp pub (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Sat 12th – Protest down Maidenhead High Street with marching band. More signatures collected on the petition

Press articleProtest held in Maidenhead against Tesco pub plans (Maidenhead Advertiser)

FPAG grows in momentum and support with volunteers door-knocking to ask residents within a 500m radius if they will sign the petition

December 2012

Tesco purchases lease for £150k

Wed 12th – Tesco notified some neighbours of their intention to move in

Sun 9th – Last day of trading as a pub

Sat 8th – Petition against Tesco Express at the Harp started

Press articlePetition launched to stop Tesco opening at Golden Harp (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Fri 7th – Save the Harp is formed. This will later become known as the Furze Platt Action Group (FPAG)

November 2012

Golden Harp landlord telephoned by Enterprise Inns and informed that they have sold the lease to Tesco. He is given 2 weeks to vacate