Oxford City Council’s team decided the fate of Barton Royal British Legion Club on the 15th of January. The club on Edgecombe Road is set to be demolished and replaced with affordable homes. It closed its doors in 2014 due to dwindling member numbers and has been left derelict in the years since.  

The housing site will consist of four two-bed, two three-bed, and one four-bed houses with associated access, parking, bin and cycle storage and landscaping.

Council documents prepared ahead of this week’s meeting read: “The redevelopment of this derelict site and the removal of the existing building would provide significant visual enhancements to the quality of the street scene in Edgecombe Road.

“It is considered that the siting and scale of the proposed development would safeguard the amenity of adjacent residential properties in the vicinity of the site and the proposals provide acceptable standards of amenity for future occupiers of the properties.”

The club, which opened in 1965, blamed its closure on tough financial times and a lack of interest from young people, leading many local residents to express their sadness over the loss of a community facility. 

Recently there have been calls for the council to put the site to a use which will benefit the community. Action was not able to be taken in previous years because of the club’s long lease over the site; as a result, the building is now unfit for use and has become a target for vandalism. Mike Rowley, city councillor for Barton, said:

“I would like to see both a community facility and housing on the site – as has been done successfully in Barns Road, though on a more modest scale – and I hope this will turn out to be possible.”

Other Barton residents have also stated that they would like to see the site used for a youth-friendly community facility, such as an internet cafe. 

The project was determined at an East Area Planning Committee meeting held on Wednesday. The meeting took place at The Old Library at Oxford Town Hall at 6pm and was open to members of the public.