A lottery grant of more than £4m will be used to give one of Merton’s most historic buildings a new lease of life.

The Canons, a Grade II listed mansion dating back to 1680, and its grounds in Mitcham will be redeveloped this Autumn.

Merton Council has been awarded a total of the £4.7m grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.

Works are expected to take four years to complete and will see the 17th century building brought back into full use.

They will also include the construction of a new community café, office space, walled sensory garden, wildlife pond and play area and the restoration of a cinder running track used by Olympic silver medalist Dorothy Tyler in the 1930s.

Volunteers have been working relentlessly for the past four years driving the campaign for The Canons' restoration.

Tony Burton, trustee of Mitcham Cricket Green Community and Heritage, said: "This is a shot in the arm for Mitcham which reflects the importance of its heritage and open spaces. It is the result of a massive volunteer effort by the local community to inspire and drive the project. This one-off investment will give The Canons a real boost and reinvesting the income it generates will secure its long term future."

Merton Council's cabinet member for community and culture, councillor Nick Draper said: “It is fantastic news and the fact that it will be enjoyed and used by all of Mitcham’s public on a day-to-day basis is great. People breathe life into buildings and creating this community hub offers us all a new lease of life.

“A huge amount of work remains to be done but we hope this is also a step towards the area being awarded Green Flag status in the future. The partnership should be rightly proud of their commitment and hard work.”

The Canons is on a site with a history dating back to the 11th century and the Canons of Bayeux Abbey and includes a carp pond and Grade II listed 16th century dovecote.

The area has many sporting associations including a running track used by Olympic athletes for training.

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s chief executive Ros Kerslake, said on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of our public parks.

“Vital to our well-being and essential to biodiversity, they are highly valued spaces enjoyed daily by people from all walks of life.

“The Canons is one of the latest parks to benefit from over £900million of National Lottery funding, which over the last twenty years has played a crucial role in revitalising more than 800 parks across the UK.”