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Dancing days are over for Marlborough’s British Legion as it sells off its HQ

In the doldrums due to declining membership, Marlborough’s branch of the Royal British Legion is selling  off its headquarters in St Martin’s, including the dance hall it added on to the rear of the grade II listed property.

Planning applications to revamp the former twin terrace houses on the frontage, one with an added extension, demolish the dance hall and snooker room and return the land to garden use were given consent by Marlborough town council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

But even when final formal consent comes from Wiltshire Council, it may take time before the property is sold and redeveloped, giving them -- and the site -- a potential value of up to £1 million.

“Any sale and completion is a long way off yet given that the market can go in many directions,” Julie Fellowes, of Marlborough agents Carter Jonas, told Marlborough News Online.

“There are developers out there willing to take on a big challenge, but this is a difficult job and, at the moment, it is not possible to put an overall value on the site. We shall have to wait and see how the market develops.”

The Legion, whose membership is now reduced to 60 mainly veterans of World War II, was formed in Marlborough in 1923. “We have had the premises in St Martin’s for 60 years, when we transformed two houses into our headquarters and then built the dance hall at the back in 1972,” said Legion chairman Bill Copeland.

“It is all very sad that we have had to close down after all this time, but we shall continue as a British Legion branch and now meet at the Conservative Club in the High Street.”

“What is vital is that we continue to look after the welfare of our members. That is the most important factor in our work. And that will continue.”

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