South Norwood residents were outraged when developers demolished part of a historic building before it could be listed as one of Croydon's heritage sites.

Cumberlow Lodge, the former home of Croydon inventor William Stanley, was used as a children's home for more than 100 years after his death before being sold to Fairview New Homes.

The council building was included in a list of sites of architectural or historic interest which meant it would have been given greater protection.

But last week - days before a decision was to be made on the building's inclusion in the list - demolition workers tore down one side of the building.

Fairview wants to build 152 flats on the site and is due to submit a planning application.

However, before his death Mr Stanley insisted the home should only ever be used for needy children, which is why so many residents were disappointed when the proposal for flats was put forward.

A campaign to stop the development has been running for the last few months, led by Councillor Sue Bennett.

She said: "I am dismayed Fairview demolished William Stanley's home before any planning application was submitted.

"This building was due to be locally listed. I understand a local listing has no standing in law and maybe architecturally this building was not of national importance, but it was certainly of local importance."

Resident Derek Bunning applied to have the house listed by English Heritage, which would have given it Grade Two listing and even more protection.

English Heritage was asked to consider listing Cumberlow Lodge on October 22 and Fairview was informed and asked prepare for a site visit.

Mr Bunning said: "We are very angry about this, it just shows this is a developer who doesn't give a damn about anything."

Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the local Labour group, said: "Following the refusal of Lord Harris to include the name Stanley in the new South Norwood Academy this represents a further scandalous attack on Croydon's local history by developers who have no respect for the views of local people."

Coun Bennett added: "The people of South Norwood are emotionally attached to the memory of William Stanley, they feel that he belongs to them and they are custodians of his legacy.

"It must now be time for the directors of Fairview Homes to step back and perhaps reflect and to now engage with the directly elected politicians to move this project forward. I am sure that we could agree on a development fitting for the former home of a very distinguished Croydonian."

Fairview Homes was unavailable for comment.