Community group in pole position to take over Stanley Halls
A group of volunteers are the front runners to take over running a historic hall and run it as a community hub.
The Stanley People’s Initiative has been identified as the main contender to take over the historic South Norwood building, Stanley Halls,in South Norwood.
They want to see increased use of the hall for theatre, entertainment, conferences and meetings by local organisations and schools.
Bids were placed with the council in August, and then an initial shortlist of bidders was drawn up in September.
Croydon Council received plenty of interest in the halls, but the community group was the standout candidate. The group will now have further talks with the council to refine and improve their business plan.
Stanley Halls, a collection of Edwardian buildings erected in the 1900s by designer William Robinson Ford Stanley as a gift to South Norwood, is currently owned by the council, who has run it since 1934.
The Stanley People’s Initiative, a group that was set up in 2011 to safeguard the future of the venue, hoped they could gain full control after submitting their bid.
Vice chairman of the group Paul Scott, who is also Labour councillor for Woodside, said he was delighted about the decision but warned there was a lot of work to be done.
He said: "We will now meet with council officers who are helping us with the next stages of our bid and help us create a more robust business plan, which will demonstrate how we can take over the running of the building.
"There is still a lot of strands to pull together but hopefully we can quickly move forward and develop a robust business plan.
"We now need to prove that we can run the hall. We will talk to different various organisations who will look to use the hall and look at what kind of staffing we will need. "There are lots of groups out there, such as the Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation, who need a home and we want to offer the halls to them."
A council spokesman said: "We are now entering into more detailed discussions with them so that we can decide on whether they have the capacity to take on this commitment and properly manage this important community asset."