A national charity has thrown its weight behind a campaign to save a landmark Victorian building.

The Victorian Society, which campaigns for the protection of Victorian and Edwardian historic environment, has thrown its substantial weight behind the protection of The Lodge, on London Road, Hackbridge.

Sutton Council, which owns the building, announced last month it wanted to demolish the 19th century building and build five new homes in its place.

The proposals were met with anger from residents who want the council to look at how to renovate the building or at least recognise its historical significance.

Formally part of the sprawling Culvers Estate owned by Victorian businessman Samuel Gurney and John Peter Gassiot Jnr, the small lodge is all that now remains but for two years it has been boarded up.

The Gassiot's were the largest supplier of port to the UK, and the family still has a strong historical link to the area as John Peter Gassiot Jnr was laid to rest in Sutton Cemetery.

James Hughes, Conservation Adviser at the Victorian Society, said: "It's just not good enough to demolish an attractive building, one of the area's last links to its past.

The Lodge is not grand but it is certainly memorable. If the existing hoardings were removed, everyone would see what a notably pretty landmark it is. Even its Victorian stained glass is intact."

Mr Hughes called on the council to scrap the plans.

He said: "Demolition would mean a sad loss to the area, given the importance of the Culvers Estate to local history. The council should protect an asset like this on behalf of its citizens and for the future."

Bob Steel, author and campaigner to save The Lodge, said: "This support from important local and national bodies vindicates our campaign and shows that to destroy this significant building would be counter-productive and detrimental to the stated aims of the Regional Park and to the council's vision of a sustainable suburb at Hackbridge."

Last month, Councillor Jayne McCoy, chairwoman of the economy and business committee said: "The Lodge offers an immediate opportunity for the borough to embark upon a scheme to build new council homes."

"We are also aware that some local residents who are members of the Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group have expressed concerns about the proposals because they believe the building should be retained. We will continue dialogue with the forum about the way forward."