Victorian building Culvers Lodge in Hackbridge saved thanks to campaign
The last remnant of a famous Victorian estate has been saved from the bulldozers after a council U-turn.
Culvers Lodge, on London Road, Hackbridge, had been flagged up as a potential site to be turned into flats, but after a campaign by members of the Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group, the council has backed down.
At last night's Strategy and Resources Committee, the council voted to remove the Lodge from the potential sites for redevelopment for at least six months.
Councillors agreed that the community should have at least six months to work on plans for the site to put it to good use.
At the meeting, Jayne McCoy, chairwoman of the economy and business committee, said: "There is still a need for social housing in the borough, but we have listened to the community on the lodge. We can free the group to look at it in a broader sense."
The Lodge was part of the Culvers Estate owned by Victorian businessman Samuel Gurney and John Peter Gassiot Jnr.
The Gassiot's were the largest supplier of port to the UK, and the family still has a strong historical link to the area as John Peter Gassiot Jnr was laid to rest in Sutton Cemetery.
Potential plans for the building include turning it into a shop, a coffee shop and museum or a potential visitor centre for the proposed Wandle Regional Park.
Campaigners say the news is very positive, but there is a long way to go to transform the building.
Francesca Bellucci, an architect who has been at the heart of the campaign, said: "It's wonderful news, but it is only an open window at the moment. We have a lot of discussions ahead , but I'm pleased the council has seen the value to the community. It has been a real team effort between the group with Bob Steel and the Wandle Forum. This is only the first step, but it's an essential one."
The campaign has had the backing of the Victorian Society and it is hoped the group will be eligible for Heritage Lottery Grants to help the project.