St John’s Wood pensioners’ club to be turned into offices by council’s housing managers

Pensioners say they will be left with nowhere to go once their cherished community hall is turned into offices.

The Village Club Hall on the Barrow Hill Estate in St John’s Wood is set to become a housing management office for CityWest Homes.

It is currently used for weekly meetings and parties by The New Village Club – a pensioners’ group with about 30 members.

Chairwoman Kathleen Lynch said: “We pay rent of �35 a month so we can use the hall for bingo and occasional parties.

“The council didn’t even come and tell us officially that they were closing us down.

“We just found out because people on the estate were told about the planning application. We have no other place to go. Without this club, a lot of the pensioners would just be sitting inside, staring at four walls.

“I feel sorry for the councillors who made this decision. One day they’ll be old and they won’t have anywhere to go.”

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The club’s oldest member, 90-year-old Anne Heavey, said: “It’s somewhere to come with my two friends and have a good time. I’ll miss it when it closes because then I’ll be on my own.”

The hall was set up by Age Concern and used to host a variety of activities for elderly people, such as sewing and dress making.

Now it only opens on a Thursday afternoon for New Village Club meetings.

Darren Levy, Director of Customer Services, said: “We are currently exploring options for the future location of the St John’s Wood Estate Office. When we last spoke to the pensioners group they were happy to consider alternative arrangements.

“No decision has been made and we will of course continue to consult with local residents over any potential options.”

Mrs Lynch denied this, saying there were no suitable locations nearby for their meetings.