Former Ashburton library could be auctioned off to make way for private housing
The site of a former library could soon be auctioned off to make way for a private developer to provide housing.
The leasehold for the old Ashburton Library site in Ashburton Park, which has stood empty since 2006, has been put up for tender by Croydon Council.
An assessment of the condition of the structure and its interior was made and planners determined the 6,222 sq ft site has the potential to be used as a community facility on the ground floor, with the first floor available for residential use, subject to planning permission.
But the planning condition could be revised if it is found there is no viable demand for the building from any community group.
It is understood while various organisations have shown interest in the site, none to-date have been in a position to carry out the extensive renovation work the site requires.
Offers for the 125-year lease have to be submitted to agents Lambert Smith Hampton by September 6, but the decision to put the lease up for tender has come under heavy criticism from Croydon Labour group.
Andrew Rendle prospective Labour candidate for Ashburton ward, said he was concerned by the option for the upstairs to be used as residential space.
He said: "The building has a great history and should be a community asset, but it is a very long lease for a community group to take on which also flags up a few issues. The site should become something the community can use."
Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate Sarah Jones added: "Yet again we see the Conservatives ready to sell off our cultural heritage without speaking to anyone.
"It is disappointing the council have not done what they said they would do at the last election to bring the site back into community use.
"Something should have been done before, it is an easy option to sell it off. Let's have some imagination, the council should talk to local people and explore funding options."
A spokesman for Croydon Council said: "We are keen to see the building used by a community group.
"There is planning potential for the upper parts to be converted to residential use which may assist with the overall renovation costs."
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