A HISTORY buff has offered to buy the antique lamppost outside his house in a bid to stop Croydon Council replacing it.
John Hickman, of Albert Road, South Norwood, is desperate to save the traditional light after spending thousands renovating his house.
He made the offer to the council about a decade ago but is now worried their streetlight overhaul could see his precious post taken.
Mr Hickman, a retired scientist, said: "I want to buy it because I don't want to see the council get rid of another part of South Norwood's heritage."
More than 50 houses in Albert Road have already seen their lampposts taken as part of the council's £49 million streetlight replacement programme. But Mr Hickman said the lamp dates back to the early 20th century and he cannot see the point of the programme.
He added: "It is in keeping with the area and a decent piece of street furniture. The lamppost is far better than these anodyne replacements we are getting.
"The council might make some money from the old ones in scrap iron but it doesn't need replacing. It works absolutely fine. I would even be willing to pay towards its maintenance."
The local historian, who regularly gives talks on South Norwood history, said the council was showing a stunning lack of respect for quality architecture.
He said: "They come and put a red cross on the ones they are getting rid of. It's like something from the great plague.
"They keep taking things of historic value away. If we aren't careful we'll become like a suburb of a third world country."
The controversial replacement scheme has met with stern opposition and last month police were called to Mowbray Road, in Upper Norwood, where angry workmen claimed they were being harassed by residents protesting against the lights' replacement.
Mr Hickman, who has lived in his house since the early 1970s, firmly supports the protest and first sent a letter to the council asking to purchase the post about eight years ago.
He claims he was told by a councillor it should be possible to buy the street furniture, which he would like to set up in his front garden.
Mr Hickman added: "It's a work of art and I am worried it will just be taken away from me one day when I'm not looking."