A ONCE-thriving city social club with members spilling out of its doors could be demolished after sitting derelict and unused for years.

Despite calls from residents to restore Barton’s Royal British Legion club to its former glory, the rotting building will be knocked down if Oxford City Council’s planning team give the housing department the thumbs up.

Signs have been put up on lampposts around the former social club on Edgecombe Road explaining that an application has been submitted to see if pre-approval is needed to bulldoze the building.

Read also: Community centre to be rebuilt in £1 million project

If all goes to plan, the community hub could be gone by March.

The club closed its doors for the last time and stopped serving pints back in August 2014 after its member numbers dwindled, forcing the committee to cease trading.

At the time they blamed the tough financial times for the closure.

Now, more than four years on, members of the community are calling for the land to be put to better use for the community after the demolition.


Mike Rowley, city councillor for Barton, said: “The RBL club has been abandoned since 2014 because of the branch’s financial difficulties, and has become unfit for use.

“We haven’t been able to do anything until now because they had a long lease.”

The councillor, also on the board for housing in Oxford, added: “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.”

Read also: Glass smashed on Oxford bus shelter

The social club first opened in 1965.

Oxford City Council wrote in its plans, which can be found online, that the only solution will be to get rid of it.

It wrote: “The building has fallen into disuse and is now closed and security boarded. The site is now a target for vandalism."

It said the site would be redeveloped at a later date.

Chaka Artwell, who lives in Barton, said he would like to see it be transformed into an internet cafe.

He explained: "Accessing Universal Credit is only possible with a computer, therefore a computer facility for Barton would be greatly welcomed.

"Barton's population is set to expand significantly and a youth-friendly community facility would be heavily used."