Campaign to save The Wheatsheaf succeeds in listing as community asset
A campaign to protect a pub has gained strength after Wandsworth Council agreed to list it as an Asset of Community Value.
The new status means if The Wheatsheaf, in Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, is up for sale the community have the power to put in a bid.
It is the first pub to be granted this status in Tooting and the second in Wandsworth.
Last month rumours circulated the venue would become a supermarket when it was revealed the lease to management company Gregarious Ltd, runs out at the end of this year.
But Enterprise Inns, who own the freehold of The Wheatsheaf, have said they no longer intend to sell the pub.
Pub patrons vowed to secure protection for the pub in case its future becomes threatened again.
Plans are now in place to campaign for the pub to be granted an Article 4 Direction, which would mean developers require planning permission for any change of use.
A total of more than 1,000 people have signed a letter drawn up by Tooting MP Sadiq Khan asking for the Wandsworth Council to introduce the clause on the site.
Dan Watkins, chair of the Tooting Wheatsheaf Supporters group, said: "The local community has rallied round to ensure that the Wheatsheaf can remain at the heart of Tooting.
"We are grateful to Wandsworth Council for expediting the process by which the pub could be listed in this way, taking just three weeks instead of a possible eight to reach a decision."
Mr Khan said: "Being a community asset does not guarantee the future of The Wheatsheaf - the council must go much further.
"Local residents, planning and pub experts, the managers of The Wheatsheaf all agree that to save this pub, the council needs to make an Article 4 Direction."
Mr Khan has also received assurances from Lidl, the Co-op, Waitrose and Tesco they are not interested in the site.
Gregarious Ltd is believed to be negotiating for a longer lease to secure the pub.
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