Following a new planning application for the Tooting Lodge, Labour councillor for Tooting Bec and Balham, Hector Denfield, has spoken about the future of the 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 years 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.

Hector said: “I think the community fondly remembers the Tooting Lodge, it was a focal point for the local area and it was a shame it stopped being used, the new owner can choose what he wants to do with the land, as long as it fits the planning rules.

“Personally, I think we do not need a car showroom in the area. A gym could be good but as long as it is affordable for people in the area with a lower income, we already have First Fitness which is quite expensive, but the proposed gym would need to be accessible for all people in the area.

“Any new plans would need to fit the style of the Grade 2 listed building and the drawings for the latest plans do not seem to show this, with buildings that look very different, connected by an underground path.”

While the future off the Lodge remains uncertain, there could be plans for the immediate future to prevent vandals targeting the site.

Hector added: “Over the years the land has been the target of vandals and graffiti artists. The owner has proposed temporary accommodation on the land. This could be a good way to stop vandals while a more permanent solution is found but residents would oppose a permanent accommodation facility.”

Hector said that a community café would be possible on the site, matching the requirements of planning guidelines and would be welcomed by residents.