Wandsworth moves on Lodge CPO

gardeners lodgeWandsworth Council has taken the first steps towards the compulsory purchase of a neglected listed building in Tooting.

The planning committee has agreed that the council should begin the process of seeking a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to protect the Grade II Listed building in Tooting Bec Road known locally as Gardener’s Lodge.

The council says the action is being taken because the owner has failed to comply with a listed buildings repairs notice requiring him to take urgent steps to safeguard the property.

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

The council says that since the notice was served earlier this year, the owner has completed just one of 13 specified repairs.

A report submitted to councillors stated: “The building is vacant and suffers from severe neglect. It has fallen into a state of disrepair to an extent that its special architectural and historic interest is under threat.”

The report said that in 2012 the owner was granted planning permission to make changes to the building to bring it back into use, but since then “virtually nothing had been done and repeated requests from the council for action to halt its decline had been ignored”.

Planning Committee chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “The owner has had ample opportunity to take the necessary steps to safeguard this important historic building.

“Unfortunately he has singularly failed to do what is required and has done little or nothing to halt its decline. As a consequence we are now embarking on the legal process towards a compulsory purchase order so that proper steps can be taken to preserve this fine listed building.

“The lodge dates back to the early 19th Century and plays a prominent role in the story of Tooting. 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. It is vital that is saved for future generations.”

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