“Hundreds” of people are demanding Sutton Council to take over a prominent eyesore in the heart of North Cheam following years of frustration.

The derelict Victoria House has been at the centre of proposed redevelopment plans for more than a decade now, but residents appear to finally be fed up.

A petition is now urging the council to take it over with a compulsory purchase order (CPO), demolish it as soon as possible and then redevelop the existing site.

The campaign attracted 120 signatures in a couple hours and is quickly closing in on 1,000 in total since its launch, according to backers.

 

Alan Plant, chair of the Church Hill, Abbotts and Priory Roads Association (CHAPRA), blasted the derelict Victoria House as a “disgrace to Sutton”.

He said: “Over three or four years we've got absolutely nowhere with it and we're left with a very untidy, scruffy, war-like looking building in the midst of our North Cheam district centre.

“Now we're trying to get Sutton Council to focus on what the appeal inspector [Planning Inspectorate] suggested, which was in line with our presentation to him.

“There may be other ways of doing it but, at the moment, Sutton Council haven't done anything. They've just sat on the sideline so we're now saying to them, 'Look you've got to do something', and probably the best way is a compulsory purchase order - or going through the process of that.

“As you know you can't suddenly come up with a compulsory purchase order, you've got to go through various stages before you get that, but sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing is not an option.”

 

It comes as the Government’s Planning Inspectorate dismissed Home Group’s appeal over rejected proposals to knock down Victoria House and build 88 flats last November.

Designs were turned down by the council’s planning committee before they appealed the decision and were thrown out again.

There have been previous pledges to demolish the notorious building, which has been empty since 2006 and subjected to acts of vandalism, but all have fallen through.

Now campaigners hope a CPO will be the first step to getting rid of the building and replacing it with a new development, and what Mr Plant hopes could be more public assets.

A Sutton Council spokesman said: “Sutton Council is aware of the petition requesting a compulsory purchase order for Victoria House. As with all petition requests to the council, it will be reviewed and assessed before a response is made.

“In the meantime, the council will continue to work with Home Group to facilitate and support the redevelopment of the site for housing. Residents will be fully involved and engaged with any future scheme.

“Discussions between the Council and Home Group regards proposed redevelopment are ongoing.“

Home Group has been approached for comment.

Signatures were originally collected in handwriting but there's now an online version available on the council's website.

To see the online petition, click here.

You can also sign the offline petition at:

- Village Travel, 5 The Broadway (SM3 8BH)

- Rumbles Coffee Shop, 4 Cheam Common Road (KT4 8RW)

- Brown's Tanning Shop, 503 London Road (SM3 8JR)

- Steve's Card Shop, 505 London Road (SM3 8JR)