Old Purley Town Hall turned into apartments
PURLEY Town Hall has been converted into flats – but no-one is allowed to move in.
Development work on the 24 flats inside the hall is complete, but would-be residents cannot live there until an agreement is reached on affordable housing which was supposed to be constructed behind the landmark building.
Herald Housing was granted planning permission in 2009 to turn the Grade II listed building into flats – as long as it also provided the affordable homes.
But plans for the housing were delayed after developers struggled to find a housing association to work with.
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The firm is now teaming up with Orbit Housing Association, and Croydon Council said it expects to decide "by the end of this year" whether to approve the scheme.
A council spokesman said: "Once the application is signed off, people can move into the new flats in the town hall."
Nigel Bennett, director of the project's latest planners, Metropolis PD, added: "The town hall is ready for occupation.
"We are hopefully getting close to having the planning conditions discharged and people moving in."
The council spokesman added that developers ploughed on with the work to the town hall "at some risk", knowing that if the plans are not approved they would not be able to use the building.
He added: "But they are cooperating and communicating with us."
Peter Appleford, of Coulsdon West Residents' Association, said the area desperately needed the extra affordable housing.
He added: "It comes up all the time at our meetings. A lot of people who grew up here cannot afford to live here."
Herald claims it has struggled to find a housing association because of a lack of funding. A representative told the council in August: "Over 40 housing associations have been approached.
"Serious attempts have been made to market the development.
"Due to the lack of grant funding, associations could not commit to the project."
Developers had suggested an independently financed scheme instead.
Mr Appleford added: "It is sad to see the town hall empty, especially when we remember how well used it once was."