Petitions urging Sutton Council to take over an eyesore which has stood at the heart of North Cheam for years are set to go to committee.

The strategy and resources committee will soon discuss the next step for Victoria House after the two petitions gained more than 2,000 signatures.

Victoria House, owned by Home Group, has remained empty since 2006 and been subjected to acts of vandalism and break-ins over recent years.

And campaigners have urged the council to submit a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to gain hold of the site before knocking it down for redevelopment.

But while it has the powers to acquire land or rights without the owners’ consent, it also warns of the financial and legal repercussions involved.

READ: Campaigners demand council to take over North Cheam eyesore

A report published ahead of the meeting reads: “The CPO process is very time-consuming, and if contested by the landowner, can be extremely litigious and expensive.

“It is a requirement that the authority bears not only its own costs but also all the reasonable costs incurred by the landowner.

“The council’s recent experience is that a period of up to 18 months should be allowed for a CPO. This, however, can be significantly longer if the landowner were to challenge the confirmed order by appealing it through the courts.

“Given the reluctance of the courts to infringe on individuals’ rights to their property, it is unlikely that CPO will be successful if the landowner is able to demonstrate that it too has viable plans for the site and is taking steps to develop it.”

The report adds that the “pragmatic and most likely” route to securing an acceptable scheme on the site is for the council to continue talks with Home Group.

However, if the landowner fails to come up with an acceptable scheme then there would be “much firmer grounds” for a CPO – something it hasn’t entirely ruled out.

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

READ: Fresh calls emerge over North Cheam eyesore

And Nonsuch councillor James McDermott-Hill believes it has “blighted a beautiful part of the borough” for several years.

But Cllr Jayne McCoy, the council’s deputy leader, says the council wants to secure its redevelopment “like everybody else”.

The chair of the council’s housing, economy and business (HEB) committee believes Home Group could come forward with a plan soon – though it’s unclear when that would be.

The strategy and resources committee meeting will be held on April 1.