Local residents, community groups and start-up businesses are invited to view council plans for a £1m restoration of the derelict Victorian former library in Ashburton Park.
Croydon Council wants to turn the building into a community hub offering a café to attract more visitors to the park, as well as flexible spaces that can be used by local groups and even small businesses.
This autumn, the council will submit plans to restore the locally-listed building, add an outer extension, provide flexible rooms available for community events, and install new toilets for park users.
Before submitting a planning application, the council is holding an exhibition on 2 and 3 September at which members of the public will be able to see the plans and give feedback.
After the event, there will be an opportunity for community groups and businesses interested in occupying part of the former library’s 6,222 sq ft space to put forward a detailed business case. Following marketing earlier this year, the council has received initial expressions of interest from more than 40 groups, ranging from art classes and sports clubs, to cafés and pre-school nurseries. Details of how to make a submission will be made available on the council’s website in late September.
If the proposals are approved at committee, the council will invest £1m in the building’s restoration and offer its available spaces for community and business use, enabling it to reopen next year.
The council pledged last year to restore the derelict building, which began life as a 19th century convent and was home to Ashburton Library from the 1920s until 2007.
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, said: “We want to reopen this well-loved and historic building and make it, once again, an important focus for community life, and I’m pleased we’re taking this major next step.
“ If you are interested in what is going on in Ashburton Park, come to our exhibition to find out how these plans could benefit you.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “This council has big plans for Ashburton Park, including reopening the pavilion and fresh landscaping, so this refurbishment of the former library is key to our wider goals.”
To attend the exhibition, visit the current Ashburton Library in Shirley Road, Croydon, CR9 7AL, between noon and 5pm on Friday 2 September, or from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 3 September. The exhibition boards will also be available to view online on the council’s website from 2 to 9 September. You can also provide comments via an online feedback form.
As part of the proposals, the council is calling on artists of all ages to enter a competition to find the best drawings that will become part of the building’s external hoardings. To enter, visit: http://www.croydon.gov.uk/ashburtonpark