Croydon’s new mayor has blamed “rising costs and construction delays” after a new library left empty for two years was put up for rent as a shop.

His comments come after the “prime retail unit” was listed at £60,000 a year by council-owned developer Brick by Brick.

Croydon’s executive mayor Jason Perry said he is “determined” to create a modern and improved library for South Norwood residents. 

The service was supposed to move into a brand new home, but the ground floor of Pump House has been empty since it was completed two years ago. 

It was built by the council’s property development company Brick by Brick and sits at the bottom of a block of 14 flats.

The politician has instructed council officers to look into options for the library’s existing building and the Pump House site. 

The library is currently based in Lawrence Road in a 1970s building loved by architecture fans.

It is now not clear what will happen to £800,000 of investment in the building promised by Croydon Council.

In 2021, there was a chance the library was going to be sold off as the building was not finished to the standard expected, but the council said it would use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money to make it usable.

Mayor Perry said: “I am determined that we provide the modern and improved local library that South Norwood residents were promised.

"There is considerable support among the local community for keeping the library in its current home, preserving a unique piece of local heritage.

“We also need to revisit whether the Pump House is the right home for the library with rising costs and delays through construction.

"I have instructed council officers to report back to me urgently on options for the existing building and the Pump House.

"Council officers are in contact with Brick by Brick who are also exploring possible commercial uses for their site.

“Residents have experienced uncertainty over the future of South Norwood library for too long and I want us to listen to them and involve them in guiding any next steps.”