2,000 sign petition which reverses decision to sell off house in Thornton Heath’s Grange Park

By Tara O’Connor, BBC Local Democracy Correspondent

Plans to sell off a house in Thornton Heath’s Grangewood Park have been scrapped by Croydon council.

After Christmas local people were shocked to see a public notice from the council outlining plans to ‘dispose of’ a strip of land in the park as part of plans to auction off the dilapidated former park keeper’s cottage – known as Heath Lodge.

In the past week, more than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council not to sell the 195sq m strip of land.

But on Monday, a Croydon council spokesman said that strong public opposition was the reason it has decided not to sell the building or land.

Public consultation on the proposal was due to close on January 13.

The spokesman said: “The council wanted to see the dilapidated former Grangewood Park keeper’s cottage and garden restored and reused as a family home, which is why we asked for public feedback on draft proposals to sell this home to a private owner.

“Although this proposal is about restoration, not redevelopment, we have heard from many local people who oppose this plan.

“As a result, we have decided this property will no longer be sold into private ownership, and instead Croydon council’s elected members and officers will work with local people over the coming months to find a viable solution the community supports.”

Councillor Karen Jewitt said she was “delighted” with the news.

Along with fellow Thornton Heath councillors Pat Clouder and Callton Young, she objected to the strip of land being disposed of.

She said: “The work behind the scenes paid off. We listened and took on board what the residents were saying and we are really pleased that the council has listened.”

As for the future of the building, Cllr Jewitt said that there will be discussions with residents about what they want to see happen.

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