A former cinema in Tooting has been listed as an Asset of Community Value after a campaign to recognise its status.

Dan Watkins, who is the Conservative spokesman for Tooting, started a petition in January, to have the old Granada Cinema, now a Gala bingo hall, listed by Wandsworth Council.

Wandsworth Times:

Mr Watkins celebrates the listing decision

The building is the only one in Tooting to have a Grade I listing.

Wandsworth Council accepted the application on December 9, which now means that the owner would have to inform the council if they wanted to sell it, and a community group could then have six months to raise the money to buy it.

Mr Watkins said: "The Granada Cinema building means so much to residents, young and old, and is the first of its type to get ACV status in Wandsworth.

"I'm pleased that after so much effort and support from local people that we have been successful in securing it for future generations. The Granada has had several owners in its time and this listing will go a long way to ensuring that whatever happens in the years ahead, our community can always visit and see for themselves its amazing interior."

Mr Watkins said he started the petition after being inspired by a talk given by Richard Gray, at the Tooting History Group.

Mr Gray, chairman of Casework for the Cinema Theatre Association, said: "Other historic cinemas in the UK have had their doors closed to the public when they have changed ownership.

"I'm delighted that Dan Watkins and local residents have rallied around and achieved this protection for the Granada, which is an important piece of Britain's cultural heritage - and a big part of Tooting’s history."

Tooting resident Ann Johnston said: "This is fantastic news.

"In the 50s we used to go every week to the Granada to watch live shows as well as films. We saw Frankie Laine and many others.

"One of the high spots was when the organ rose from the depth of the orchestra pit to loud cheers."

The council’s finance spokesman Councillor Guy Senior said: "The local community made a strong case in support of the bingo hall because of the positive contribution it makes to the area and the people who live there.

"Our decision to list it as an asset of community value means that the building cannot be sold without the local community being given the chance to purchase it."

According to the council, there is nothing to suggest the building's owners have plans to sell it.