South Norwood mechanic vows not to give up on his garage
A popular garage owner has vowed to carry on fighting after the site where he is based went up for auction.
Richard Hough, who runs Autoclutch Garage, which is situated opposite Norwood Junction, has been fighting to keep his garage for more than 11 years and residents are ready to fight his corner.
The site, which is valued at £650,000, was put up for auction by the developer Greathall Limited. It goes to auction today.
Planning permission was granted in 2011 to turn the land into flats which would mean Mr Hough’s garage would be demolished once somebody buys the site.
Hexagon Housing Association, who provide homes across South East London, said they were interested in the site but distanced themselves from making a bid for the development.
Tom McCormack, chief executive of Hexagon, said: "We have made some initial enquiries about the site, but at this point in time, we have no plans to purchase it and no plans to develop the site."
Mr Hough said his business is at the heart of the South Norwood community and he will not give up his fight to stay in the area.
He said: "I have been shown no respect during this whole saga. This garage is in my blood, this runs through my blood.
"This is a community business and is community based. This has the community at the heart of it. I have helped people from fixing kids’ bikes to giving people some work. I am not going to let this go."
He added that other housing associations have pulled out of buying the site.
Dan Malton, 30, who did work experience with Mr Hough 17 years ago and now works for the RAC said it would be a sad day for the area if the garage and his former mentor were forced to go.
He said: "I have known Richard for 20 years now. In my opinion obviously his garage is good for business in the area, but more so Richard is an inspiration to area and the opportunities he gives to young people.
"It would be very sad if he was forced to leave."