Royal British Legion building facing demolition over revamp costs

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Totton Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion building in Commercial Road, Totton

A HALL used by the Royal British Legion for more than 80 years is set to be demolished after estimates revealed it would cost thousands of pounds to bring it up to modern standards.

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The facility in Commercial Road was gifted to the Totton and Eling Royal British Legion branch in 1938 by local resident Marion Dibden for the use of ex-servicemen.

The original building dates from the late 19th century and over the years many repairs have been carried out by branch members.

However, the structure now needs new electrics, flooring, a kitchen and toilets, which is estimated at around £35,000.

Branch secretary and joint Poppy Appeal organiser Susan Compton told the A&T: “Sadly the members came to the decision that the branch did not have the funds and motivation to renovate the building and bring it up to modern standards.

“Over the last few years we have been running many Poppy Appeal events in other locations such as Totton and Eling Community Centre, as well as attending fetes and car boot sales, and felt that we could not justify spending money on the hall when all our fundraising should go towards helping veterans and serving personnel.”

The building is now being prepared for sale. As the land is held in trust, all proceeds will be returned to the Royal British Legion. The branch itself has no plans to close.

Susan added: “As we approach the centenary of the RBL in 2021, all branches need to attract new and younger members.

“We are holding monthly branch and committee meetings in the Congleton Suite at Totton Conservative Club and run many events elsewhere in Totton, especially during the annual poppy appeal fortnight in October and November.

“As we now no longer need to focus on maintaining an old building, we have the opportunity to run more and different events.

“The Totton and Eling branch also now has a much greater online presence including a website and Facebook page, which helps us reach out to younger Royal British Legion supporters wherever they are.”

Volunteers are also being sought to help with events including the annual Poppy Appeal which, since October, has raised £23,000 for serving soldiers and veterans, and the Remembrance Day parade in November.

To get involved contact Susan on 023 8087 3143 or email poppy@compark.co.uk.

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