A TEENAGE millionaire is planning to invest £500,000 to turn the old Royal Oak pub site into the biggest shisha bar in London.
The pub, on the Brighton Road roundabout between South Croydon and Purley, has been empty for around ten years.
But now, 18-year-old foreign exchange trader Hashim Haq wants to create somewhere for young people in Purley to relax and spend time with friends.
Hashim started his job as a trader two and a half years ago when a friend of his father showed him the ropes while he was studying at Trinity School, in Shirley.
He was so good at it that after finishing his A levels, Hashim decided to trade full time.
The teenager has lived in Purley with his family for 15 years and now trades from his home in Birch Lane. So when he started thinking about investing his new wealth, Hashim looked no further than his home town.
He told the Advertiser: "I've been quite successful so I wanted to invest my money in something else.
"I spend all day sat behind my desk so I wanted to invest in something that would get me out, and where better than Purley?
"I've grown up here. Most of my life I have spent here and there's not much for people like me to do.
"I like smoking shisha and my friends like it too and we wanted somewhere to chill and it just grew from there."
Hashim plans to turn the former pub into a two-floor shisha and dessert bar called Aroma Shisha Lounge, with 6,000sq ft of floor space to seat 200 people.
He wants to kit the pub out in traditional shisha style and has recently returned from a trip to Morocco where he bought lanterns, chandeliers and booth seating.
The bar will be split into separate floors for shisha smoking and desserts. The shisha area will have a roof specially designed to allow smoke out of the building without letting the rain in.
Hashim admits there are a lot of illegal shisha bars with poor ventilation but says his business will comply fully with health and safety regulations.
The walls will have doors that can be opened to increase air flow and there will be an outdoor heating system fitted inside to keep everyone warm.
Hashim said: "The building has been closed for ten years and is an eyesore.
"I want to make it really fancy and upmarket. And it will be bringing employment into the area too."
A planning application was lodged with Croydon Council last week.