Crowland Royal British Legion Hall's future lies with community, says town leader
The future of Crowland's Royal British Legion (RBL) Hall could become a little clearer in the coming weeks as its current owners prepare to hand over the keys.
Talks about the possibility of the 19th century building, in Broadway, becoming an Asset of Community Value, effectively pausing its sale on the open market for up to six months are set to be held on Monday.
Crowland Parish Council members are due to hold a virtually meeting to discuss what could done to save the hall, formerly a Methodist chapel built in 1862 until 1938 when the town's RBL branch took it over.
Branch members are planning to hand the keys for the building over to the RBL's regional property team at the end of this week after events there were stopped when the coronavirus lockdown started in March.
Coun Reg Boot, branch vice-chairman and a parish councillor, said: "We're looking at listing the RBL Hall as an Asset of Community Value.
"But, in the meantime, we're trying to sell some of the items inside the hall to raise money for the Poppy Appeal."
The hall was the main community venue in the town, hosting weddings, christening, parties, slimming classes and fundraising events.
It was also used by Crowland Cancer Fund for its annual cheque presentation night,with the charity having raised a total of about £830,000 over the last 30 years.
But speaking last month, Coun Boot said: "The hall itself was doing alright, but it was benefiting the community, rather than the RBL.
"So our long-standing secretary and treasurer felt the hall wasn't satisfying its basic purpose and a decision was made to close it."
Coun David Kempton, parish council chairman, said: "We had a letter regarding the sad demise of the RBL Hall and there has been chatter as regards saving it.
"One of the more useful ideas is to register it as an Asset of Community Value.
"In principle, I'd support someone in the town picking it up, looking into it and making it happen.
"But the way it stands at the moment is that the parish council isn't in a position to go through that process as we're falling behind on some other key projects and we don't want to give people false hope."
A Royal British Legion spokesman said: "The property in Broadway is now closed.
"It was formally used as a RBL club and as a branch-occupied property.
"Unfortunately, the building was no longer financially viable and the Branch took the difficult decision to close it.
"Next steps will now be taken by the RBL’s property team to move ahead in placing the building on the open market in accordance with the Charities Act 2011 legislation."