Neighbours of a much-loved cafe have started a petition to prevent it from being converted into a flat.

A total of 50 signatures and dozens of letters of objection have already been collected to save the Coffee Cup in Effra Road in Wimbledon which has become a community hub.

The business, which sits on the corner of Effra Road and Evelyn Road, has been run by husband and wife team Adele and Stephen Theron for the last three years.

Mrs Theron, 38, said: "It’s just so sad the Government makes it so easy for landlords to close small businesses.

"It is really sad to lose this little shop."

Mr Theron said, it will not happen and they will fight the application.

Wimbledon Guardian:

The Coffee Cup

Up to 30 letters of objection have been lodged with Merton Council and 50 people have signed a petition against plans submitted by landlord Roman Shapiro to convert the shop into a studio flat.

But Mr Shapiro, who has only been the landlord for a year, assured the Wimbledon Guardian if he got planning permission he would only convert it into a flat as a last resort.

He said: "If the current tenants leave I will try to rent it out as commercial premises. If I am unable to find commercial tenants I will then consider converting to residential."

Mr Shapiro has submitted documents to the council claiming the business has not been paying its quarterly rent on time - although this is strongly disputed by Mr and Mrs Theron.

Neighbour Tanya Sarkhel said she only moved into Tennyson Road recently, but she has been made to feel very welcome at the coffee shop already.

Mrs Sarkhel, 47, said: "I have met a lot of people through going there, which is rare for a London borough.

"It’s a shame.

"It’s tiny but they have really good bread and home-made cakes and lovely Panini’s."

A letter submitted to the council by Effra Road resident Niki de Schryver said it was impossible to imagine the road without the Coffee Cup.

She wrote: "The Coffee Cup has been contributing to the local community like no other.

"New residents are made to feel welcome there and the coffee shop is often the first point where one starts to meet neighbours and other locals."

The Coffee Cup will celebrate its third anniversary on Wednesday, October 1.

Mr and Mrs Theron are in the process of opening a second eatery, an American diner-style restaurant in Kingston Road, Wimbledon.

The application will be determined by the council planning committee at a date to be confirmed.