Local people given greater say in future of historic building in Tooting

Published: 14 December 2018

The council has agreed to give the local community an increased say in the future of an historic building in Tooting.

The town hall has named Gardener’s Lodge as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), reflecting its important contribution to the social history of the borough.

The lodge is a Grade II Listed building in Tooting Bec Road which dates back to the 19th Century and is one of Tooting’s oldest buildings.

Designating it as an ACV means that if the current owner wishes to sell the building he must give the local community the chance to buy it. The listing gives local residents a six month window in which to raise sufficient funds to purchase it.

Although the owner does not have to sell to a community group, the ACV designation improves the chances of local grassroots organisations being able to raise the necessary funds by effectively triggering a six month moratorium on the sale.

Finance spokesman Cllr Guy Senior said: “The lodge dates back to the early 19th Century and has played a prominent role in the story of Tooting for the past 200 years.

“It was originally part of a much bigger horticultural estate at a time when this part of the borough was completely rural. It is one of the only buildings still in existence that reminds us of Tooting’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.

“Awarding it ACV status gives it an added layer of protection so that it can be safeguarded for future generations. It means the building cannot be sold without the local community being given the chance to purchase it.”

The lodge has been vacant since 2010, having previously been used as a garden centre. Its current owner has a planning consent to use the site for retail purposes and has been subject to various forms of enforcement action for neglecting the building and allowing parts of it to fall into a state of disrepair.

The council’s website has more information about making an ACV application and a list of other local properties that have been given this status.