Tooting residents are fighting the latest plans for a much-loved community asset.

Earlier this month, the owner of the Tooting Lodge submitted plans on Wandsworth Council's website. He hopes to build a car showroom and gym on the land at the bottom of Romberg Road.

The site has been empty for several after it was sold by its previous owner.

Residents in Tooting Bec have been fighting any plans which would ruin the beauty of the site.

It is currently the location of a listed building and the local community have been hoping a community centre would be built there.

A spokesperson from The Custodians of Tooting Bec said: "We are opposed to the latest planning application to erect a double height gym and car showroom at 98-100 Tooting Bec Road.

"The proposed plans will have an adverse effect on the setting of this listed building.  The plans are a blatant breach of the grade II listing of the lodge and its curtilage - you cannot build on this site. 

"Furthermore, the proposed buildings are overbearing, out of scale and out of character in terms of their appearance with existing development in the vicinity. 

"The proposed car showroom also is out of character with the existing development and surrounding area. 

"It seems rather odd, when nationally and locally, car showrooms are closing and moving to out of town sites or to high-end retail sites for prestige motors,  that this developer thinks there is a need for a showroom in Tooting Bec, when there isn't. 

"It is quite simple - the terms of the historic listing forbid any building on this site. 

"As an Asset of  Community Value, we, the Custodians and local residents, would like to see the lodge used a community hub, respecting the fabric of the building and regenerating this once thriving centre."

They launched a consortium a few years ago and also tried to raise money to buy the land.

The most recent plans have angered a number of residents, with one saying that "the lodge is an asset that must be protected, a car showroom or a gym is not what we need for the community."

Jane Briginshaw, chair of the local neighbourhood forum said: "This is a retrograde, poor quality application providing significant harm and no benefit to the surrounding area.

"The proposed car showroom function is wholly incompatible with the existing streets and neighbourhood and is likely to generate more traffic and other harms; the urban design ( relationship to surroundings), architectural design and landscape design are of very poor quality.

"An application so mismatched to its surroundings would need to be rooted in support and to make a compelling case in its favour.

"I don’t believe there has been any consultation to seek support and to my knowledge, no case has been made.

"I’d be very surprised ( and shocked) if the application gains officer or council support or whether it even meets planning requirements.


These results were complied after 18 face-to-face consultations as well as one online consultation, undertaken by Tooting Bec & Broadway Neighbourhood Forum.

"My initial reaction on the forums behalf is that a car showroom is diametrically opposed to views expressed in our extensive consultations and provides nothing that the community says it needs.

"Amenity that people most wanted was cultural- i.e. cinemas. We are already well served locally for gyms."

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Tooting MP, said: "All local residents should have the opportunity to put their views across on the future of Tooting Bec Lodge.

"Residents are best placed to know the needs of our local community and should be consulted on any major changes.

"If any Tooting Bec residents are concerned about proposed changes, I would urge them to contact me and their local Councillors."

A Wandsworth Council spokesperson said: “The owner of this listed building in Tooting has submitted a planning application which is now subject to public consultation in the normal way.

"All the views we receive as part of that consultation will be fully considered in due course as part of the decision making process.”