The council has succumb to pressure from campaigners and taken measures protect a beloved Tooting pub from being transformed into a supermarket.

Defenders of the Wheatsheaf were disheartened earlier this month when the council did not grant its wish of an Article 4 direction - which means any plans to change the pub’s use would have to be considered by elected councillors.

The Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec 

The council had backed the Article 4 in principle but said it would not stop the owner’s right to change the use of the site and suggested waiting for future planning policies, which would offer the necessary protection for the pub, due to come into force next year.

In a shock move, on Wednesday night's meeting, the council reneged on its previous stance and has now set the wheels in motion for an Article 4 to be approved.

Councillor Jonathan Cook deputy council leader said: "The Article 4 will be approved shortly and we will begin consulting on our new pub protection policy in September which would give us real powers to refuse planning applications to convert pubs into shops.

"This will ensure the Wheatsheaf and many other well loved local pubs are protected and preserved."

Sadiq Khan the MP for Tooting said: "The continued delay over the last year has been an insult to the people of Tooting, and wider afield, who use The Wheatsheaf.

"Our campaign over the last 12 months has been relentless. And everyone's hard work has finally paid off. We have forced the council to pull their heads out of the sand and finally save the Wheatsheaf."

Dan Watkins local Tory campaigner said: "This is a fantastic result for our campaign and we thank the councillors for their political support in pushing this change through town hall."

Despite celebrating the news, campaigners are still wary after it emerged Enterprise, which owns the Wheatsheaf, put in a planning application for nine flats above the pub, which could cause a reduction in floor space due to a new staircase.

The planning application explicitly states they want to keep the pub as a pub but campaigners feared the reduction could lead to the demise of the pub in the future.

The pub opposite Tooting Bec station