Croydon council has sold a historic park keeper lodge for more than half a million pounds despite the disapproval of many residents.
Over 5,000 Croydon residents signed a petition to try to stop the council from auctioning off Heath Lodge in Grangewood Park.
Around 100 local residents also showed up at the park on February 26 to protest their decision.
Heath Lodge consists of a former park keeper’s house and a section of parkland.
Grangewood Park is one of many properties that the council hopes to sell to help pay off the interest on loans incurred from a government bail-out following its financial interest collapse in 2020.
The local community urged the council to halt the sale so that the management board could find a new use for the property and the land. They have also been suggesting ideas such as a youth centre, wildlife centre or a café.
The petition against the sale of the lodge was started by the group Friends of Grangewood Park.
One of the group members stated: “This community asset would serve its residents, so they feel part of their environment, offer a sense of belonging, support mental well-being and an active lifestyle with the ability to serve local families whilst supporting the maintenance of the park.”
Despite their efforts, the property has now been sold for £600,000.
The council had previously tried to sell the property in 2020 but the residents fought against it, causing the sale of the lodge to be delayed.
Peter Underwood, who is standing for Croydon mayor in May’s election, said at the protest that he attended: “Croydon Council keep telling us that they want to work more closely with the wonderful volunteers who help look after our parks. Yet here they are selling off Heath Lodge and part of the park without even talking to the local community. The sale has to be stopped to allow local people the chance to put forward their plans to bring this building back to life.”