The campaign to save the Grade II listed Tooting Bec Lodge edges forward as Wandsworth Borough Council moved to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the site.

On October 15, the council started proceedings on a CPO for the lodge. The property owner has 28 days to appeal.

A listed building repairs notice was served in February, which gave the owner until mid-March to make vital repairs, but these have not been completed.

The Custodians of Tooting Lodge have been working since 2011 to ensure the future of the building.

Dan Watkins, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Tooting and Custodians spokesman, said: "We’re delighted that the council has responded to our campaign to save the Lodge by taking the bold and historic step of initiating the CPO.

"It will take some time for this process to conclude, but local residents are now one step closer to having the lodge fully restored and open to the public."

Coun Antonia Dunn, ward member, said: "Hand in hand with the CPO, the council will look for a new owner that can operate this property as a community asset going forward, whether that be the Custodians or another interested party. For the time being, well done to the Custodian of Tooting Lodge for all their hard work behind the scenes and making the case for action."

After the CPO announcement, the Labour group of Tooting Bec and Balham sent out a letter thanking supporters for working with them to save the lodge, but making no mention of the Custodians.

Councillor Fleur Anderson, one of the signatories of the letter, said it would be inappropriate for them to have mentioned the custodians, as several other groups have been working with them on the lodge.

She said: "We could not mention just one other group. It is not our place to be aligning ourselves with them.

"The main credit should go to the officers who have stuck their necks out.

"They have listened to the people, which is brilliant."

Coun Anderson said she had given credit to the custodians and many other groups via social media sites.

Planning committee chairman councillor 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."

Residents who wish to register their support to Save the Lodge can do so by visiting