A set of barriers will be installed at Croydon’s historic Grade II-listed town hall.

The glass gates are designed to heighten security at the council establishment, one of the architectural gems of the borough, despite security staff on the door.

Croydon’s Labour group have accused Conservative Council leader Mike Fisher of closing off the 121-year-old building from the public after somebody mistakenly wandered into his office last year.

Installing the gates will mean drilling through the finely detailed mosaic tile floor, but the council said mosaic chips would be carefully removed.

It added these chips could be restored if the barriers were ever to be removed thus “the floor could be reinstated to its previous condition”.

Opposition leader Councillor Tony Newman said: “This barrier, at a time of cuts to front-line services, is a grotesque waste of public money and is further barrier to local democracy. The town hall belongs to all the people of Croydon and not just Coun Fisher and his Tory chums.”

Labour’s lead on planning Councillor Paul Scott added: "The town hall has significant architectural prominence in Croydon.

"I do not understand why, after 121 years, Coun Fisher feels the need to barricade himself in to the town hall."

A petition of 20 names was submitted in objection to the new barrier, which would also include a turnstile.

But the application was granted planning permission on October 25 without a public meeting having been approved using delegated powers.

Council leader Mike Fisher said a review of security had recommended the installation of barriers following thefts and an incident of a member of public making an unsubstantiated complaint against a member of staff having gone wandering in the town hall.

He said: "I personally do not mind if we have barriers or not but when a report says we need to increase town hall security because of these incidents we have a responsibility to keep our staff and the public safe."