MEMBERS of the Red Lion Social Club in Maghull were left in shock after the club suddenly closed on Friday and they were told the site will be turned into retirement living accommodation.
Many of those who attended the facility on Liverpool Road, which was formerly the Maghull and District Royal British Legion, are ex-servicemen.
They are angry because they were not told about the decision face to face and used the venue as a place to meet friends and have a quiet drink.
A Royal British Legion spokesperson said: “The Maghull Royal British Legion Club ceased trading in September 2018 following the members voting to close the business due to financial conditions and declining membership.
“It has been for sale since then, but we have had a temporary tenant in occupation to avoid leaving the building empty for a long period. A sale was agreed in October 2019.”
But Anthony Leonard, 76, who had been going to the club for ten years said people had spent money buying tickets for a Valentine’s Day function and put money behind the bar for the year ahead.
He told the Champion: “Everyone is stunned by this announcement. It is despicable the way the’ve done it.
“We heard about this through a telephone call. There has been no face to face meetings.
“The Red Lion club used to be the Legion until 12 months ago. We understand the Legion still owned the land and that someone had leased it off them.
“We feared it may close, but not so suddenly.
“Many ex-servicemen feel let down by the way it has been done after all the work we have done for the Poppy Appeal.”
Mr Leonard said his partner, Maureen Lloyd, has been going to the venue for 50 years. He added: “We may lose contact with friends.
“It was convenient for people and more like a community meeting place. We are disgusted in the way this has been done.”
McCarthy and Stone issued a statement saying that the Maghull Royal British Legion (RBL) branch had been liquidated and closed prior to the RBL opting to market the site for sale an that they were one of a number of developers expressing interest in the site.
They added that they would like to hear from the community about their plans to transform the site into Retirement Living accommodation.
Residents are invited to view the proposals and speak to members of the project team at a public exhibition to be held at St Andrew CofE Church, 22 Damfield Lane, tomorrow Thursday (February 6) from 3pm to 7pm.
Speaking about the exhibition, Ian Wilkins, divisional managing director at McCarthy and Stone, said: “We are looking forward to speaking to the local community about our proposals and hearing their feedback.
“Our proposed development would provide much-needed specialist housing in the centre of Maghull and would positively contribute to the area through a high-quality, attractive design.
“We know there is a rising demand for retirement accommodation in the area, with the number of people aged over 65 set to rise by 58% in the next twenty years.
“The site has excellent public transport links, and easy access to local shops and services.
“It would also allow people the change to downsize, freeing up larger family homes.”
Edge Hill University is running a programme to train people for new roles to support mental health in schools and colleges