A popular former snooker hall is to be turned into a block of flats despite more than 400 objections from the community.

The building, in Wimbledon Park Road, Southfields, is to become a mixed development of shops, flats and some leisure space.

An appeal was launched by developers Gresham Pensions Trustees after Wandsworth Council turned down a planning application in April this year.

The myriad objections were made by residents who wanted the building to remain a leisure facility.

But a four-day public inquiry overturned the original decision last week, and the building will now be demolished.

John Papworth, independent planning inspector, in his written decision said: “The existing building makes no contribution to the character and appearance of the area and is clearly in poor condition with difficult access for the less able due to the steps from the entrance and stepped main floor level. 

“The loss of the building is not a matter to be resisted and a new purpose-built facility would be superior in performance, accessibility and the quality of provision.”

There will still be room for leisure space in the development, with the inspector stating it could be used for a cinema, gym or dance studio.

Rob Richman, of the Southfields Plaza Cinema Campaign, pointed out the inspector has not deemed how much leisure space will be granted.

On the campaign website he wrote: “These statements are important references when the full planning application is ultimately submitted and considered by Wandsworth Council and I think in that respect we have much to be confident about.

“There is much to play for and we will be there at every stage of the process.”