A close friend of the owner of two Thornton Heath hotels who has died of coronavirus has paid tribute to him.

Mirza Raza owned the Buller Hotel on Woodville Road and the Clock House Hotel on Brigstock Road along with other properties in Croydon. 

Munzer Ahmed Choudhury, General Secretary of the UK Bangla press club, which represents Bangladeshi journalists in the UK described Mr Raza (pictured here with his friend) as ‘my philosopher, a true human being’.

Writing on Somoy News, a 24-hour Bangladesh news channel, he said: “The Coronavirus has resulted in the death of someone who has been the most important person of the last four years of my life. I don’t know where to begin writing from. This person stood by me as a father figure, as a friend in the toughest time of my life. He was there as a constant support, at the time when I received the news of my father’s demise three years back.

“Just the thought of him not being there makes it difficult for me to hold back my tears. That a 62 year old, healthy, well-maintained, disciplined person would leave this world like this, was beyond my imagination. 

“I’ve worked with him for so long, but don’t have even a single bad memory of him. Raza sir was a kind, humanitarian and trustworthy person. He was laid to rest in London on Tuesday, while I am stuck here in Bangladesh. The pain of not being able to see sir for one last time will haunt me forever.”

Mr Raza who lived in Shirley was also the sole director of company called 138 Brigstock Road Holdings Limited described as a letting and operator of owned or leased real estate.

The family had planned to open another hotel in Thornton Heath but lost their appeal against refusal of a planning decision to open a third establishment on Brigstock Road in January.

Mr Raza’s son Ameen, who runs Birkbeck Estates Ltd, appealed against a decision made by Croydon Council to turn down an application for the erection of a hip to gable, two storey side, rear, basement and roof extensions.

The proposed development at 138 Brigstock Road was described as change of use of property from four flats to a fourteen bedroom hotel.

Planning Inspector William Cooper, ruled in January against the appeal but said: “The proposal would add to local hotel capacity in the area, with associated employment. It would also generate custom for local businesses and services, during and after construction. However, given the scale of proposed development, the benefit in planning terms would be limited, and would not outweigh the harm identified.”

The main issues were the effect of the proposed development on: the character and appearance of the area; the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers; highway safety and parking stress, and housing provision.