Steps taken to protect popular pub

Published: 21 November 2013

A community campaign to safeguard a popular pub has moved forward after councillors agreed to take the next steps towards granting it greater protection.

At a meeting of Wandsworth Council's Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee, councillors agreed to a full public consultation on a proposed Article 4 Direction for The Wheatsheaf in Upper Tooting Road.

This would mean the site would require planning permission if the owner wanted to change its use. It would also protect the pub from any future demolition proposals unless permission was sought through a planning application.

Tuesday night's meeting also saw committee members ask council officers to explore ways in which other pubs around the borough could be protected from the potential threat of redevelopment.

Wandsworth's strategic planning spokesman, Councillor Russell King, said: "This campaign clearly demonstrates the passion Wandsworth residents have for their community.

"Though our powers are limited, when people come together as they have done in Tooting to rally around a much-loved venue, we will do what we reasonably can to support them.

"Local pubs are often at the heart of their communities and so we are keen to review what we can do to protect these community hubs across the borough."

The council granted The Wheatsheaf Asset of Community Value status earlier this year, which gives members of the community time to bid to buy the site should it come up for sale.

Praising the efforts of supporters of the community-run 'Save The Wheatsheaf' campaign, Cllr King added: "We are keen to see a residents' association in the Tooting Bec area and maybe the strong network that has formed here can also help us look at other community  issues."

The council's executive will be asked to approve the committee's decision to begin the process of issuing an Article 4 Direction at its next meeting.

Securing an Article 4 Direction will require a full public consultation in the near future and may be subject to a Secretary of State review.