Tooting MP Sadiq Khan welcomed local "#save the Wheatsheaf" campaigners and Tooting residents to Parliament to thank everyone for their hard work in the campaign so far and to discuss the next steps going forward.
Over the last two months, Sadiq Khan MP has worked closelywith the local community to rule out a Tesco take over, as well as receiving reassurances from other supermarket giants Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and the Co-operative that they would keep their hands off The Wheatsheaf. . Sadiq Khan also secured reassurances from owners of the pub, Enterprise Inns, that they have no plans to sell the pub.
However, although save in the short term, the long term future of the pub is still under threat.
Over 1000 local residents have so far signed Sadiq’s letter to Wandsworth Council, calling on them to use planning law (Article 4) to save the pub, as well as other local residents and campaigners.
An Article 4 Direction would mean that any change of use of the site would have to be considered by elected councillors first. Click here to add your name to Sadiq's letter to the Council.
Guests included the manager of The Wheatsheaf, Mike, Fiona, from the pub company Antic, Toby Perkins MP, the Shadow Minister for Pubs and active CAMRA member and GLA representative Tom Copley. Yasmin Duggan, who started the campaign with a post on Streetlife, also attended, as well as members of the campaign team Chris McQuiggin, Fleur Anderson and local Tooting Councillor, Ben Johnson.
The event focussed on the success of the campaign so far as well as discussing the next steps. Campaigners agreed that pressure needs to be placed on local councillors to secure their support for an Article 4 Direction, which will be considered by the Council in November. Wandsworth Council have never granted an Article 4 Direction for a single building before, but campaigners are hoping councillors will use the powers they have to save this much loved pub from developers.
After the event, guests were treated to a tour of Parliament.
Sadiq Khan MP said;
“As a Member of Parliament I get to put my name in the ballot for Parliamentary rooms to host constituency events. As soon as I was allocated a room for September I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to organise an event with Wheatsheaf campaigners.
“It was brilliant to see so many people who love and want to save the pub together in one room. The campaign wouldn’t be where it is now without such incredible local campaigners.
“Moving forward it is important that we convince our local councillors and Wandsworth Council to get behind the campaign, and push the Council to use the powers it has to save the pub. Save the Wheatsheaf!”
Yasmin Duggan, local resident and Wheatsheaf supporter said:
'It was great to see how strong feelings about a local event translated so seamlessly into focus into the heart of our UK democracy! Such a good turnout from all walks of Tooting life! Great night.'
Chris McQuiggin, Wheatsheaf campaigner and member of the Wheatsheaf planning team said:
"It was great to see so many familiar faces from the campaign turn up to the event in parliament. People like Sadiq and Fleur have done so much to help save the Wheatsheaf already but it was good to speak to everyone about continuing to push for the Article 4 Direction."
Tom Copley, CAMRA Member and GLA representative said;
“Over the past decade 1,300 pubs have closed across London. High property prices mean that even good, profitable, well-run pubs like the Wheatsheaf are under threat of redevelopment. Wandsworth should follow the example of boroughs like Islington which have explicit pub protection policies that make it far harder for pubs to be converted into shops or flats.”