A beloved scout hut is close to being saved after its new owner agreed it should be sold to the community.
Campaigners were devastated when the Madalen Park Lawn Tennis Club (MPLTC) suddenly announced they had sold the ground on which the Romany Scout Hut, in Lyford Road, Wandsworth, is based for £300,000.
However, the 1st Wandsworth Scout Group and Play House playgroup are celebrating a major breakthrough in their campaign after the new owner, Abid David, agreed to sell it to a community interest group.
Mr David, who lives near the site, said: “After consultation with the tennis club it has been decided to sell the Romany to a community interest group made up of individuals with properties that neighbour the site.
“The proposal was put forward to me by Dan Watkins who spent a great deal of his time assisting the community interest company (CIC) being formed.
“There are still many steps ahead before this happens, but hopefully this will go through in good time and the Romany will be retained as a community asset for all to use.”
Scout leader Tom Arms said they sent off all the legal documentation on Monday morning. He said: “We are not safe in the port or harbour yet, but we are heading in that direction.
“Two people have been really instrumental including Dan Watkins, who has been responsible for negotiating all the legal work involved in establishing a CIC, and Sam Neal talking to various neighbours to raise the money.
“We are very grateful to Mr David – he’s proven a real stalwart of the community.”
Mr Watkins said: “We’ve secured dozens of commitments from local residents pledging funds to buy the site, so we are now in position to make a community bid.
“The CIC will represent all of the local community groups and have at its very heart a pledge to protect this beautiful open space from development, securing the site for the long-term.”
Tooting MP Sadiq Khan said it was a fantastic result and added: "The Romany is a very special oasis in the heart of Wandsworth, which has been home to the scouts and the local community for 52 years."
A statement on the tennis club website said: “Mr David has said that, for personal reasons, he is unlikely to continue with his plans to build a children’s nursery and would prefer the site to be transferred to the community.
“He has suggested that if the club find an appropriate buyer in a reasonable time-scale he would step aside and allow the club to sell the Romany to that buyer. The committee is looking into the options.”