There will be life in the tower after Nestle.

That is the message from new owners Legal & General Property who will submit detailed planning permission within the next 10 days to convert the building, of which the real name is St George’s House.

Charles Walker, director of Legal & General Property, told today’s Develop Croydon Conference that Nestle has completed 90 per cent of its relocation to Gatwick and the building will be vacant in January next year.

Now the building, which accommodated around 1,200 employees at is peak in the 1960s and 1970s, will be transformed into homes.

Mr Walker said: “My understanding is that the thin floorplates over the 23 floors were key to Nestle’s decision to leave St George’s House.

“The process of change started for us 12 months ago when we exchanged contracts to buy the building from Nestle.

“Since June, our design team have been working out proposals for a change of use, to a building which will use both apartments and affordable accommodation.

“From the disappointment that Croydon clearly felt about losing Nestle, there is good news that St George’s House really does have a future.

“It’s in a fantastic location and, after a public exhibition in September, we are pleased about the overwhelming support we have received for a change of use for the building.”

The conversion is a boost for the borough, which according to Councillor Jason Perry in the opening keynote speech, needs to create 27,000 new homes to meet rising demand.

Mr Walker praised the role the council has played in getting to the stage where a planning application can be submitted so quickly.

He said: “The planning environment has been a catalyst to enable us to move through the change of use process quite quickly."

Mr Walker  also said the Develop Croydon Conference itself was “very positive” regarding the town’s future.

“We’re excited by the opportunity to take part in the future of Croydon and to be part of the emerging new-build environment,” Mr Walker added.