A politician has launched a petition to try and save the Carshalton War Memorial Hospital.

Ken Andrew, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Carshalton & Wallington, has been canvassing local residents to seek their views on the controversial plans to sell off the site to housing developers.

The 90-year-old hospital was built with public subscriptions in 1919 in remembrance of local men who fought and died on the battlefields of the 1914-18 war.

The war memorial hospital is close to residents’ hearts, according to Mr Andrew: “There was a massive response to the petition. The hospital was built with money raised by local residents after the first World War, as a memorial to those who bravely gave their lives for their country and local residents feel as passionate about keeping the Hospital as their predecessors did in financing it.”

The closure of Carshalton War Memorial Hospital in October 2005, which formerly accommodated the Sutton and Merton Assertive Outreach and Rehabilitation Team, was a controversial decision.

There had been plans to change the hospital into an intermediate care facility for the disabled, elderly, or non-acutely il, providing them with less intensive care than that offered at a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

But now the trust claims it wants to treat more people in their own home so no longer needs a new centre.

Mr Andrew said: “It’s very disappointing that they have now gone back on that idea and decided instead to sell the site to property developers. The strength of feeling amongst residents is high. We have already received a large number of signatories.”

A group has also been started on social networking site facebook and has over 100 members.

A spokesperson for Sutton and Merton PCT said: “Local people have a great deal of affection for Carshalton War Memorial Hospital, however, the health needs of the population have inevitably changed in the years since the hospital was founded.”