The long-awaited reopening of the Crystal Palace Park farm has been delayed again after asbestos was found in the old buildings.

The London Development Agency (LDA) told thousands of residents the farm would reopen at the start of this month. But when this newspaper rang on Monday to check when this was happening it was told the opening was delayed.

The asbestos was found several weeks ago but the public were not informed about the delay until after our call.

On Tuesday Capel Manor College, which is due to run the farm, released a statement announcing asbestos was found in the delapidated farm buildings and outhouses by LDA staff.

The announcement comes weeks after the deadly substance was found in the National Sports Centre.

The farm is due to have a trial opening at the end of October after a £600,000 revamp, funded by the college and the LDA - but the public will not be admitted until a later unspecified date.

The statement said the final opening date will depend on whether further problems are encountered and how quickly the animals settle into their new homes.

Stephen Dowbiggin, chief executive of the college, said the current foot and mouth crisis may restrict the movement of certain animals to the farm, which could also delay the farm's opening.

The farm closed in 2000 and has been the target of vandals and arsonists ever since. When it is re-opened Capel Manor, a training college specialising in animal acre and horticultural studies, will manage the farm and fill it with a variety of animals, from pigs, goats and rabbits to snakes, lizards and alpacas.

While it will predominantly be a teaching college, for about 50 students aged 16 and upwards, the LDA has promised that for 300 days of the year it will be opened to the public - for three hours a day in the week and four hours a day at weekends and bank holidays. But the delay in the farm's opening has caused anger from residents.

John Payne from the Crystal Palace Community Association (CPCA) said: "Yet again we are seeing a lack of clarity over the plans not only for the park, but also for the farm, particularly in relation to public access."

"But if we have full public access on a reasonable basis the farm will have a good impact on the area."