A much-loved mural depicting local life in the 20th century is under threat, if a planning application gets the go-ahead.

The 32-year-old Battersea Puzzle mural, painted on the church hall of St Peter's Church, Plough Road, Battersea, documents trends such as high unemployment rates and the disappearance of local industries.

A planning application submitted to the council to demolish the building has been approved, but still needs to be signed off by the Diocese of Southwark.

The mural was designed by Christine Thomas in 1981 after vicar Michael Wimhurst commissioned the artwork, and was organised by the Wandsworth Arts Resource Project (WARP).

Ms Thomas enlisted members of the community to help create the mural, which paints a then-and-now scenario of local life.

Images include German bombers flying over the Power Station and an old steam train next to a new one in Junction station.

There is also a tower block with the sign "we want out", depictiong people moved from estates into the buildings which were found to be unsuitable for families.

Ms Thomas, who now lives in Kent, said: "This is a piece of street art which holds so many precious memories, stories and portraits of local people.

"It was painted during hard times and reflected the high unemployment and cuts in local amenities, which now unfortunately have come full circle.

"If the mural is to be demolished then maybe fragments of it could be saved for posterity, like parts of the Berlin Wall."

Jenny Wimhurst, 73, wife of the vicar who commissioned the work said: "It was a lovely mural in its heyday. Things have to change, it is sad of course and murals are frail but it was painted with great care. My daughter is on it aged three years old."

Ruth Miller, of the London Mural Preservation Society said Wandsworth used to have around 10 murals but now there are only four left.

She said: "Local people will lose a piece of their history, it is like a part of it disappearing - we don't have so many around any more."

If it gets the green light from the bishop a new church, vicarage and community building will be built, including an eight storey building with residential units and a car park.