A residents' association has been given the chance to draw up plans for a new community centre on the site of derelict Cedars Hall.
The vacant building in Chicheley Road, Harrow Weald, was going to be bulldozed to make way for emergency accommodation for homeless people until the council scrapped the idea because of huge public uproar.
Now the council has given members of Weald Tenants' and Residents' Association until the end of July to come up with a business plan.
The decision, made during a meeting at Cedars Youth Centre on Wednesday (May 7) last week, has been met with mixed response because residents believe they will not meet the deadline.
The association wants a new community centre to be built on the land instead of it being sold for development.
Paddy Lyne, a former Harrow councillor and chairwoman of the Weald Tenants' and Residents' Association, said: "The council has asked us to come up with plans but the deadline is extremely tight. We have never done anything like this before.
"We want Cedars Hall to be transformed into a multi-purpose community centre serving the people in this area. The land is for recreational use. This could be the main hub of our community but the timescale is unrealistic."
Lee Choules, vice chairman of the association, explained the association would need to find around £500,000 in grants to demolish the vacant building and construct a new centre. He said: "We are hoping to carry out the scheme through lots of funding.
"I am pleased the council is taking us seriously but I am sceptical about the deadline."
The land was left to the people of Harrow Weald when Lady Blackwell, of Crosse and Blackwell fame, died. In 1972 another residents' association raised half of the money to build Cedars Hall.
Chairman of the meeting Andrew Trehern, who is corporate director of community and environment, said: "We have listened to what the residents have said and have responded to this.
"We want to offer them the time to develop their ideas regarding the use of the land and our senior officers will be offering their support and planning advice.
"The proposal will be that they come back to us with a sustainable business plan and within an agreed time scale an update of their bids for funding."
Proposals will be discussed at Harrow Council's cabinet meeting on Wednesday.