MORE than 7,400 people have signed a petition calling on Bromley council to rethink plans for a memorial museum attached to the St George’s Chapel of Remembrance in Main Road, Biggin Hill.
The council has given planning permission for a scheme advanced by the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum Trust, which proposes “a purpose built, single storey museum” to “frame the historic chapel”.
But the trust’s plans, which include demolishing the vestry to “allow the original design of the Grade II listed 1951 Chapel to be once again revealed”, have been met with resistance by the local community.
Rita Radford, who started the petition, said: “The early signatories were mostly local, but since then it’s been snowballing. People from all over the country have signed, even from abroad, though foreign signatories have been discounted.
“The general feeling is that this is an inappropriate, unsympathetic design. Even the son of ex air vice marshal Harold Bird-Wilson, who flew in 11 group during the Battle of Britain, often from Biggin Hill, contacted us to say that his father would be horrified at the proposals.”
David Evans, Rita’s partner, added: “There are so many reasons why this is wrong. Some groups are worried about it continuing as a living church, others about the loss of the vestry.
“There are people who have been fighting for a museum in Biggin Hill for 30 years and they just don’t like the design. Most people think it’s a characterless toilet block.”
To read Rita’s petition, see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-biggin-hill-st-george-s-raf-chapel-of-remembrance
A Bromley council spokesman said: “The petition was received by the council on July 11 and is in the process of being verified. Depending on the outcome of the verification, in line with the council’s policy, the petitioner could be invited to speak at a council committee meeting.”