Kilburn British Legion members are being booted out of their club
Brent Council want to redevelop their site
Members of West Kilburn’s Royal British Legion are being forced out of their club because the council wants to build on its land.
Brent Council wants to redevelop the area around Salusbury Road and Albert Road, Queen’s Park, which means knocking down the Legion’s headquarters.
But it means devastated members of the branch will have to move to another site.
Sheila Ryan, chairwoman of the branch, said: “We are a charity. Everyone here is a volunteer.
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“The council wants to redevelop the land but at the same time it is closing everything. There might be flats but soon there will be no libraries, no centres for the disabled, no school places and now no British Legion. We feel let down.”
Members who have died over the years have also had their ashes scattered in a special Garden of Remembrance outside the building where families gather every year on Remembrance Day and lay poppies and wreathes.
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This year The Royal British Legion also celebrates its 90th anniversary.
Gloria Suggitt, 73, from Queen’s Park, said: “It is such a viable branch.
“Last year we raised �19,000 for the Poppy Appeal. People are very upset about the plans. This is an important year for the Legion celebrating 90 years. But the council has always wanted this place for the land. It means so much to so many people.
“We are like a family here.”
According to the Royal British Legion, the building is owned by the council and leased to the charity.
The charity then sub-lets it to the West Kilburn Club.
The members have been told they can use the Sir Robert Peel Public House, in Peel Precinct temporarily.
But wheelchair-bound Joe Page, from Kilburn, said members never had a say in the plans. He said: “This was done behind closed doors. We had no legal representation.
“The future of the club is very uncertain. The place where they want us to move has no wheelchair facilities for the disabled. It’s a bad deal.”
A spokesman for The Royal British Legion said: “We are assisting the branch and are prepared to contribute financially to ensure alternative facilities for the branch for the first three years.
“This may not be popular with some club members but the fact is they will be found new premises.
“The move will be underwritten by the council and the club is relieved of the liability to repair their present premises which, if they were to remain, would have been substantial.”
The council said it has been in discussion with the Royal British Legion’s head office about the sale of the land for about two years.
A spokeswoman added: “The British Legion occupies a site on the corner of Albert Road and Salusbury Road and holds this by way of a long leasehold interest. This particular site will be used for residential development.”