Compulsory purchase warning to owner of ‘at risk’ listed building

Published: Tuesday 27th January 15

The council has given a property developer a two month deadline to carry out urgent repairs to a neglected historic building in Tooting or face losing it through a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

The owner of Gardener’s Lodge – a Grade II Listed building in Tooting Bec Road – has been given a deadline in mid-March to complete urgent repairs or the council will seek permission to use its CPO powers to protect and save the building

A listed buildings repairs notice was served on the owner earlier this month. It lists all the works that need to be carried out immediately if he wants to avoid further legal action.  

The owner has two months to repair Gardener's Lodge

The notice requires him to carry out urgent repairs to the lodge’s windows, front door, external parapet and chimney, guttering, rendering, internal plasterwork, floorboards, roof and ceiling timbers, fireplaces and the perimeter railings that front Tooting Bec Road.

If these repairs are not properly completed, the council will apply to the Secretary of State for permission to compulsorily purchase the site.

The notice also warns him that if the minister is satisfied that the listed building has been deliberately allowed to fall into disrepair as a prelude to demolition and redevelopment, then only the minimum amount of compensation would be payable under the CPO’s terms.

The developer has owned the lodge for some years but done little with it. In 2012, he was granted planning permission to make changes to bring it back into use, but since then the early 19th century building has fallen into disrepair and the owner has ignored repeated requests from the council to take proper steps to halt its decline.

There is particular concern about its roof which is no longer waterproof. It has no front door and its window frames are decaying, internal plasterwork has been lost, its external stonework is in a poor state and wild vegetation is growing from its gutters and downpipes.

Floorboards and roof timbers have been lost or broken while the ceiling plasterwork is also in a poor state of repair.

A report to councillors last autumn warned: “The building is suffering from neglect and is falling into a state of disrepair to an extent that its special architectural and significance interest are under threat.”

Planning Committee chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “The owner of this important local landmark should be under no illusion whatsoever about the council’s determination to safeguard this fine historic building.

“He must take immediate action to prevent it from sustaining any further deterioration and carry out full repairs to all its important architectural and historical features. He has two months to complete this important task and the clock is ticking.

“Gardener’s Lodge is a really important local building and plays a very prominent role in the story of Tooting.

“It was originally part of a much bigger horticultural estate and dates back to a time when the people who lived in this part of Tooting resided in a rural community. It is one of the only buildings still in existence that reminds us of the area’s long-lost agricultural past.

“As well as its historical significance it has fine architectural merit too and is an important surviving example of a late Georgian-era lodge building.

“The council has given the owner every opportunity to do what he needs to do to safeguard the building but he has failed to meet his responsibilities and instead this listed building has suffered further decay.

"Now we have told him that these urgent repairs must be completed by mid-March or he will face potentially costly and immediate legal action.”

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Recent comments

Well! it's about time. this building means a lot to me personally, growing up on Romberg Road where this building is located on the corner of and working for many years on the site, using this building as my base. I am so glad that some action has finally being taken to secure a future for this beautiful little house. Well Done Wandsworth Council, the sooner you take possession of this building the better!
John Stevens

3 February 2015

With a little imagination this building could be turned into a great locality asset with many potential community benefits. Action to stop greedy individuals playing private games with historic sites is long overdue.
Nick Williams

2 February 2015

This site would be perfect for a family café and community garden. Just the sort of thing the Council ought to be doing... If it is compulsarily pruchased I hope they will consult local residents about its use rather than just put it back on the market.
Sue Brearley

31 January 2015

Why give this chancer any more time? Take it off him now.
brian valentine

30 January 2015

The owner of this property is a local developer who owns many large houses in tooting bec (and beyond) He is currently in the process of building three large houses on the site of the garages on Topsham Road and plans to knock down my parents garden wall in the process! Trust me, money is not an issue for this man. He bought this beautiful site and is deliberately destroying it hoping to build flats on the plot. Thank god the council are going to scupper his plans! It's disgusting that he's been allowed to let it get this bad, let's hope they follow through with this threat

30 January 2015

It's amazing how the council can make such demands, yet they can't take care of their own housing stock repairs. I've been trying to get my leaking windows fixed for over a year! This story is yet more propaganda and as always council give just one side of the story. There are many reasons why owner might not be in a position to make the repairs right now. Clearly they had designed to, but anything could have happened since 2012 resulting in delay (lost of job anyone?!). What's the councils excuse for not carrying out their own repairs in a timely manner?! With just two months’ notice, this owner stands to have this building STOLEN from them! Don't be under any illusion the council 'cares' about this building, as all they see is revenue!

30 January 2015

Following years of the owner promising to do work to The Lodge and never following through, this decisive action from the Council sends a firm message out to other owners of Listed Buildings in the Borough.
Sarah Burrows

30 January 2015

Well Done!
Marco Baggioli

30 January 2015

I am very pleased that the Council is taking steps to preserve this building; it is disgraceful that the owners have let it fall into such a state of disrepair. I hope that it will be restored and made available to the community to enjoy.
Vanessa Hopkins

30 January 2015

Well done!!! Too many worthwhile old buildings are allowed to fall into fatal disrepair. For example old cinema premises on high streets... like Tooting High St.
Paul de Chazal

30 January 2015

I am so pleased you have put pressure on the owner. I live round the corner and it is sad to see such a beautiful building literally dying. the space is used to park cars which is strange. thank you very much for doing this.
Ursula Birt

30 January 2015

He will soon be able to knock out those few odd jobs in no tjme, then just sit back again for a while
ralph busch

27 January 2015

I do hope this building is properly restored - I grew up there in the 70's - it'd be such a shame to lose it
E Michel

27 January 2015

A CPO does not mean Wandsworth will improve things. A property on Earlsfield Road, subject of CPO 20 years ago, is still derelict.
Celia Blair

27 January 2015