More than 1,300 people have signed a petition to reopen a visitor centre in a Croydon park which has been closed for the past three years.

The building in South Norwood Country Park was damaged by a fire in 2020.

A petition, started by Will Hoyles, says the centre was a “vital venue” for school children to learn about wildlife as well as acting as a base for a park warden and volunteers.

It also provided the only toilets in the park and the petition adds this means it is now “inaccessible for many people and is unsuitable for large groups of volunteers”.

The petition reads: “An area the size of South Norwood Country Park requires a full-time warden with experience in conservation and a fully operational visitor centre.

"Reopening the visitor centre is an important first step that would not only restore the facilities it provides but act as a focal point for future work in the park and a clear sign of the Council’s commitment to the people of South Norwood.”

The petition calls on Croydon mayor, Jason Perry, to commit to reopening the visitor centre and set out a timeline for doing so.

It gathered more than 1,300 signatures in three days.

It was shared by Croydon Central MP, Sarah Jones on Twitter.

She said: “We are really lucky to have such a well-loved green space here in Croydon. 

"It would be wonderful to encourage people to use South Norwood Country Park from Croydon and beyond.”

One petition supporter, Bibi Alli, wrote: “Local and community-based centre that needs to be preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

MWhile Caroline Legg wrote: “In the past, the centre provided services, information and events for park users and local schools and groups. This is greatly missed and I would love to see the facility restored and updated to encourage greater awareness of nature and Croydon’s much-loved green spaces.”

A couple of the petition responses said a café in the building would also be a good addition to the park. Like Yvonne Barker wrote: “I use the park all the time and wish they would open the toilets and even a café or something would be very useful and would attract more people to use the park.”

Croydon Council was contacted for comment.