Almost 100 residents met to launch a campaign against plans to demolish and relocate Beckenham library, which were slammed as "sheer vandalism."

Opponents of the proposals gathered in Beckenham Public Hall, the proposed new location for the library, hearing from parliamentary candidates, architects and historical associations on Thursday evening.

More than 3,000 members of the public have already signed an online petition calling for the library to remain at its current location, rather than be moved to Beckenham Halls to make way for a housing development.

Garnet Frost, 65, who spends his Sundays cleaning Beckenham War Memorial, said: "For a start, it's sheer vandalism.

"The library is modest and understated, but nevertheless perfectly suited to its purpose.

"It's in a late art-deco style with some nice handcrafted touches to it, including some beautiful internal features.

"To destroy it would be an act of vandalism, with no proper reason. There are other possible sites."

The plans were voted through at last week's Renewal, Recreation and Housing committee, despite opposition from Labour councillor Ian Dunn, who started the petition, and Clr Josh King.

Supporters of the relocation, such as Aisha Cuthbert, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Lewisham West and Penge, argue the relocation would make the library accessible to more residents and free up space for much needed, affordable housing.

Critics say the new site is just a third of the size of the current one, meaning a reduction in services would be likely.

Labour councillors claim the proceeds of sale from the land will go towards a £400,000 maintenance backlog at Beckenham Halls, the consequence of a council policy of "not maintaining its properties unless it is essential."

They further argue that the current location, which is near to Beckenham Spa and Venue 28, makes the library part of a community "hub" which can't be recreated elsewhere.

Mr Frost added: "The fact is the Council has got itself into a position where there is a lack of council housing.

"There's a pressure to house a growing population, but we need creative, not destructive solutions.

"It's like drug addict whose built up a debt deciding to raid in Granny's shillings."

Bromley Council was approached for comment.