Parents and carers in Wandsworth are 'horrified' and 'devastated' at the prospect of losing a much loved children's centre in Tooting Common.

Wandsworth Council will be deciding on the proposed plans for the Tooting Triangle site tonight (Thursday, November 22) at a council meeting.

The council said its plans would improve sports and leisure facilities on Tooting Common and safeguard the future of the children's play activities at the Tooting Triangle. 

This would include a revamp of the buildings, with changing rooms, showers, a cafe, public toilets and children's recreation area.

But parents living nearby believe the development would replace the existing centre and are worried services could be lost.

Wandsworth Times spoke to parents at the centre, who said they only heard about the latest proposals this week.

One mother came to the centre as a child and now brings her child there.

Amy Green described it as an "amazing facility" and the only free service for children in the area.

"I used to come here when I was little, as did my friends and sister. Its terrible, I, like others, didn't know about the plans until Monday," she said.

"This wasn't through official channels either, it was just a person passing out leaflets. The meeting is on Thursday, that gives us no time to do anything.

"Their excuse that we need a cafe here is rubbish. There are so many around the area and there has never been a need for one here ever. Why is there a sudden need?"

Grandparent Tim Pharoah has been bringing his grandchild to the facility for 18 months and described the councils plans as a "disaster".

He said: "A lot of people use the facility, especially in the summer. We rely on it. It is not only important for us but also for the early development of children. I think its shabby the way we found out and the way they treated people. Dil, who has worked here for almost 15 years, didn't even know until Monday."

Another parent, described the plans as "terrible" and said the centre is a "lifeline" for a lot of people.

Kate Dolleymore said: "I don't think a cafe is necessary. There are so many in Balham, why do we need another one? This service is so much more important."

Mohah Seockill added: "I am horrified at the prospect of replacing the centre with a cafe, there is more need for a centre here. There is a cafe in the common and its not that far away, literally a five minute walk. The centre has been invaluable for parents, its been a godsend to us. We live so close and if it were too close we wouldn't know what to do."

Eunice and Dil, who have both worked at the centre for a number of years, were deeply upset by the plans and said they have no idea what is going on. Parents described them as amazing members of staff who make the centre what it is.

Several other parents who spoke to Wandsworth Times agreed that there is no need for a cafe in the area and the centre is vital for children and parents, as it is affordable and creates a community spirit.

A Wandsworth Council spokesperson said: “These plans will ensure that not only does the Triangle get a new all-weather pitch and provide a permanent home to the local boxing club, it will also offer a bigger and better, secure and dog free play area for toddlers and young children, both indoors and outdoors.

“Parents and carers will still be able to bring their very young children to the Triangle and continue to enjoy the play facilities and socialise with other mums, dads and toddlers from the area. Currently the building is only open for a couple of hours in the mornings three days a week. These plans will see the facilities available every day of the week, all day, from 8am into the early evening.”