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Get involved in the issues you care about

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the Golden Harp campaign, and those hard-working residents who became part of the FPAG family.

As from April 5th 2015, where a pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value, a planning application will be required for the change of use or demolition of that pub.  It falls short of putting pubs in a sui generis category, but it is clearly a step in the right direction and a fitting end to our campaign.

If you are interested in pubs and real ale, we would encourage you to join your local CAMRA branch, and maybe even get involved with helping out at a beer festival (this year’s Maidenhead Beer Festival is on July 24th-26th).

With the election just around the corner, we would also urge voters to join the debate on local and national issues, perhaps with the help of 38 Degrees.  Our Chairman, Mark Newcombe, is organising a 38 Degrees meet-up in Maidenhead soon, so please visit their website, or get in touch if you would like to know more.  Let us get together and ensure make sure that the issues we care about are top of the winning politicians’ agenda

Welcome

You can find out what Save the Golden Harp was all about here. The FPAG was successful in lessening the impact of the conversion of the Golden Harp to a Tesco Express. The current planning laws made it impossible to prevent the conversion from going ahead. However, we are pleased that thanks to our campaign, and the campaigning of others, the first steps have been taken to change the planning laws to help protect pubs in the future. We are still urging people to get involved in local issues and:

  1. Sign our petition calling on the government to save our pubs – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/66572. Publicise by downloading our leaflet
  2. Help protect your local pubs by supporting CAMRA and registering your pub as an Asset of Community Value
  3. Boycott Tesco – don’t shop at any of their stores or online.  Remember, Tesco also owns or part-owns Giraffe restaurants, Harris+Hoole coffee shops, One Stop convenience stores and Dobbies garden centres. Write to the Chairman and CEO of Tesco telling them why you’re boycotting them. Contact details are here

Save Our Pubs

There is nothing more quintessentially English than enjoying a pint of real ale at your local pub, and yet they continue to close at an alarming rate. Multi-national companies are taking advantage of the current planning laws and bullying local councils into submission. These profit driven organisations are destroying our national heritage.

The FPAG fought long and hard to lessen the impact of the new Tesco Express at the site of the Golden Harp in Furze Platt.  Permitted development laws meant that the 20 year lease was secured before anything could be done about it. No amount of public protest, listing the pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) or applying for an Article 4 direction could prevent the loss of another much loved local.

If you would like to protect other pubs from suffering the same fate as the Golden Harp in the future please sign our HM Government e-petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/66572. This is supported by CAMRA, and at the time of writing is the top-trending petition with 352 new signatories in the last hour.

Please share the petition with as many friends and groups as you can via facebook, twitter (#saveourpubs), and emails etc. You can also download our leaflet (pdf 90kb) to publicise the petition.  We need 100,000 signatures in order for it to be considered for debate in the House of Commons.


2014-07-09 Top-trending petition

 

The Golden Harp Memorial Service

Ladies and Gentlemen you are cordially invited to attend the Golden Harp Memorial Service on Wednesday 2nd July 2014.

We will be meeting for drinks at the Bear Hotel between 5:30 and 6:00pm. The entourage will then proceed to the Town Hall where members of the Maidenhead District Control Panel and Planning Officers will be able to pay their last respects.

The service will have a New Orleans Funeral March feel with live music so please dress accordingly. This is likely to be the last organised FPAG event of our successful campaign so please come along, show that you care about local democracy and have some fun!

Please sign this petition if you agree and share it with as many friends, colleagues and groups as you can via facebook, twitter (#saveourpubs), emails etc.

A Very Sad Day for Local Democracy

The opening of the Tesco Express store in Furze Platt is indeed a very sad day for local democracy. The vast majority of local residents, through petitions, surveys, public meetings and letters of objection have made it very clear that they are opposed to the opening of this store.

We hope that our supporters and local people will boycott this store as it is the only way left for us to protest against this unwanted development. We truly hope that our pedestrian and traffic safety concerns are not realised and that Tesco prove to be a good neighbour, something they have failed to demonstrate so far.

The FPAG is currently working on a number of exciting projects, with National and Government organisations, to change the planning laws in order to protect pubs from suffering the same fate as the Golden Harp. The campaign is far from over and we will continue to push for change.

Action groups around the country are coming to us for advice and using our data and legal experience to protect their communities and so our campaign has grown beyond just saving the Golden Harp, local businesses and the Post Office.

We have also set up a Residents’ Committee to monitor the site to ensure that Tesco do not breach any of the conditions imposed on them at the Appeal Hearing in October 2013.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the campaign so far and look forward to working with you, and the ever growing number of like-minded people around the country, in the future.

Mark Newcombe
Chairman FPAG

2014-06-03 Boycott Tesco

Treasurer’s Report – 02.06.14

There have been comments made recently on Facebook regarding the funds raised by the Furze Platt Action Group (FPAG). As the Treasurer of the FPAG I would like to put to rest the minds of those who have generously donated.

Since the FPAG was founded in April 2013 the funds raised amounts to £4,700 and expenses so far amount to around £4,000, the most expensive of which was a payment of £3,000 for legal advice. The current bank balance is £692.66. Anyone who wishes may contact the FPAG via the website www.savetheharp.co.uk and a member of the committee will be happy to take them through the accounts.

As a qualified accountant I can assure everyone concerned that all donations are accounted for and all expenses are agreed by the members of the FPAG committee.

Yours sincerely,

Steven K Pritchard ACMA CGMA BA
Treasurer FPAG

National Planning Loophole

On Tuesday 29th April 2014, the RBWM Council voted unanimously 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.

The preceding debate included references to the totally ineffectual ACV listings and Article 4 Directions, supposedly created to protect our much-loved pubs from permitted development.

Although it is too late to save the Golden Harp, we truly hope that the Government will change the planning laws to preserve viable pubs, which are both the centre of our communities and part of our national heritage.

Interestingly, the Publicans’ Morning Advertiser reports that: CAMRA votes to stop working with pubcos.

This is a step in the right direction and proof that local democracy can work. We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this happen and supported us in our campaign to save the Harp.

Furze Platt Residents to Boycott Tesco

Click here for the full results of the Golden Harp Residents’ Survey (pdf 443kb)

Press Release

The results of the Furze Platt Action Group’s Survey of residents, who will be affected by the Tesco Express which is due to open, shortly, at the Golden Harp Public House site in Furze Platt Road, Maidenhead, have just been released. The overall results were :-

  • 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.

and

  • 79% said they would boycott the Tesco Express.

Views on what could or should be done were somewhat more mixed:-

  • 57% wanted traffic calming in Courthouse Road, with 22% against and 22% not sure.
  • 67% wanted width restrictions, with 21% against and 12% not sure.
  • 91% wanted loading restrictions and yellow lines around the Golden Harp site to prevent delivery trucks or customers from parking or waiting on the roads.
  • 70% thought there should be free parking permits for residents and their visitors where they lived close to the Golden Harp.

Residents also expressed their views on the potential loss of the Post Office.

  • 95% were concerned about the loss of the Post Office, if the Best One shop closed as a result of the opening of Tesco Express.

and about the use of permitted development rights to convert the pub to a store without a full planning application, meaning factors such as traffic safety could not be taken into full consideration.

  • 94% wanted a change in planning law so that full planning permission should have to be obtained.  

Whilst the views of residents in the immediate area ( Courthouse Road, Furze Platt Road, Linden Avenue, Oaken Grove  varied slightly from the overall results they were not significantly different.

Many of the residents were scathing in their individual comments criticising Tesco for going ahead with this store given the overwhelming opposition against it.

Mark Newcombe, the Chairman of the Furze Platt Action Group, reflecting on the survey, said:

“Thames Valley Police have already expressed their concern about the impact of this store on what is a busy junction. The Furze Platt Action Group will be working with the Royal Borough and looking to the Council to bring forward plans to deal with what will undoubtedly be a chaotic and dangerous situation for local residents and their children.”

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead thanked the FPAG for organising the survey and said the results were very informative.  The council added:

“We are very keen to continue our constructive work with local residents to help deal with a number of their concerns. Several highway improvements and management controls have already been put in place to prevent parking and loading abuses. However, we are always willing to look at further proposals, including the possibility of a residents’ parking permits scheme, although that would require formal consultation on the creation of a residents’ parking zone.”

Regarding residents’ desire for a change in the planning law, the council added:

“We continue to give consideration to how our planning policies can best address residents’ frustrations within national planning regulations.”

Note to editors;
600 questionnaires were delivered in the local area and could be completed by paper or online at http://www.savetheharp.co.uk. 166 returns were received ie 28%, an extraordinary response for such a survey. 76 of those returns were from the immediate area ie Courthouse Road/Furze Platt Road/ Linden Avenue/ Oaken Grove.