A 'forgotten' sculpture, which has gathered moss in a building now due for demolition, is to be put on public display in a new home.

Battersea-based activist Brian Barnes raised the alarm with Wandsworth Council when he realised that a piece by Ian Walters was at risk because the building it has stood in for decades is now scheduled to be knocked down.

Mr Barnes, who counted the late Mr Walters - the sculptor renowned for his statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square - among his friends, urged council officers to move the work, entitled Barrier, from the former social education centre in Thessaly Road, Battersea.

Mr Barnes said he had been able to access the building after squatters were recently evicted - only to find the sculpture covered in ivy.

He said the piece, a large oddly shaped block of stone, had been commissioned by the borough's chief librarian in the 1970s.

"I remembered the Barrier was in the old building as I live locally and commissioned Ian to create a piece for a park I designed," he said.

"I realised the Barrier needed to be recognised before the building was demolished and made contact with council officers who are deciding on a new site for the sculpture.

"I would like it to remain in Thessaly Road as this was the intention of Ian Walters."

A council spokesman said: "The plan is to move this sculpture from the internal courtyard of this vacant council-owned building to a more prominent site on the Carey Gardens estate, where it can be viewed and enjoyed by all."

He added the building due for demolition would be replaced with nine two-bedroom affordable flats.

Manager at the Carey Gardens Cooperative, Laura Noakes, said a specific site for Barrier had yet to be identified.

Ian Walters, who had a studio in Battersea High Street, was also responsible for creating the memorial to the International Brigades in Jubilee Gardens, in the South Bank, and a large head of Nelson Mandela, now outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall. He died of cancer in August, 2006, aged 76.