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Council agrees to stump up for heritage open day this year

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AFTER a year out, Croydon is rejoining the annual celebration of the best of London's buildings.

Open House, scheduled for September 21 and 22, gives people the chance to visit buildings across London which are rarely or never normally open to the public.

Last year Croydon missed out because the council said it was unable to pay Open House the £4,000 required to gain a place in the official brochure, enabling a local initiative to be publicised.

It cited budget cuts as the reason for pulling out.

As a result, no Croydon buildings were included, and the borough was the only one in London to be excluded.

This week, Councillor Jason Perry, the cabinet member for planning, regeneration and transport, said the money had been found to allow Croydon to play a full part in Open House this year.

He said: "I think people missed the event last year.

"The costs are relatively small and we have managed to find the money from within existing budgets."

Cllr Perry added: "We have got a great heritage in Croydon and I don't think we make enough of it, to be honest.

"It is good news that we can now be included in the brochure and people across London can find out what Croydon can offer."

The council itself will be taking part this year, opening up its Taberner House headquarters in Park Lane.

Cllr Perry said: "This will be last chance people have to visit Taberner House before the move into new offices in Bernard Weatherill House."

There are proposals to demolish the office block and replace it with four buildings, ranging from six to 30 storeys high and containing more than 400 homes and commercial space.

The Whitgift Foundation is also joining in offering tours of the Almshouses in North End and Old Palace School in Old Palace Road.

Other buildings being opened include Shirley Windmill, in Windmill Close, and Fairfield Halls, where behind-the-scenes tours of the entertainment complex will be offered.

Catherine Shirley, from the Whitgift Foundation, said one positive outcome of Croydon not taking part last year was the foundation's decision to organise the Croydon Heritage Festival in June, which celebrated the borough's history and culture.

But she said: "We are delighted Open House is taking place in Croydon this year.

"The festival showed it is very important that the borough's heritage is celebrated.

"We are looking forward to welcoming people."

Council agrees to stump up for heritage open day this year


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