Victory for Tooting as historic chapel named after Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe is saved

Wandsworth Guardian: Campaigners outside the Defoe Chapel Campaigners outside the Defoe Chapel

An iconic chapel, believed to have been founded by the author of Robinson Crusoe, has been saved by campaigners.

Tooting residents mobilised after plans were submitted by developers Lee Property Holdings Ltd to dramatically alter the appearance of the Defoe Chapel, in the High Street.


Wandsworth Guardian:

However, as Daniel Defoe wrote in his timeless classic 'it is never too late to be wise' and the developers soon decided to modify their application after campaigners objected to their proposals.

The initial planning application proposed a ground floor rear extension, an enlarged retail area, increasing the building height by two storeys and creating three two-bedroom flats.

Lee Property Holdings has now amended the application to remove the second floor extension to the front of the building and reduce the number of flats to two.

Sadiq Khan the MP for Tooting said he was extremely pleased with the outcome and was urging Wandsworth Council to consider the application carefully.

He said: "The Defoe Chapel forms an important part of our local heritage, and it needs to be protected. The amended proposals are far less damaging to this iconic building, and I join local residents in welcoming the changes."

Libby Lawson, from Tooting History Group, said the chapel was a building to be celebrated and retained for the future. She said: "The amended proposals are a positive move forward as we consider the proposal to alter the roof line should never have been entertained."

Reverend Helen Matthews, of Tooting United Reformed Church, said: "It is hoped that the developers - and the council - will note the strength of local feeling about this iconic building at the centre of Tooting and Tooting's history."

The Defoe Chapel opened in 1766 and is considered one of the oldest buildings in the town. Local legends state the building received its name because author Daniel Defoe was instrumental in its founding.

The chapel was a place of worship for more than 140 years and is now used for commercial purposes.


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