Campaigners fight on to derail Biggin Hill museum project

By Luke King in Community News

CAMPAIGNERS say they are stepping up their efforts to derail a planned museum at St George’s chapel, Biggin Hill.

More than 10,000 people have now signed a petition calling for designs proposed by the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum Trust to be scrapped.

The petitioners support the opening of a museum at Biggin Hill but say the current scheme is “an awful design” and “an insult to the very brave who protected us”.

“We are still very much fighting,” says Rita Radford, who created the petition on the 38 degrees website. “I phoned into Radio Kent on Sunday and spoke about the chapel for just under four minutes. Lembit Opik let me do all the talking.

“They let me speak for three minutes at the council meeting but it was a foregone conclusion as councillors had been told how they had to vote.

“We are certainly not letting up on it.”

In addition to being interviewed by BBC TV, Rita organised a gathering of supporters at the civic centre in Bromley.

In July Bromley’s executive approved the proposals submitted by the Trust. The £5m museum project has already attracted a Heritage Lottery award of £2m, as well as a £1.5m endowment fund to support the future management of the museum.

Councillor Stephen Carr, leader of Bromley Council, praised the Trust for its work and said the museum would open in November 2018, 100 years after the end of the First World War.

Built in 1951 using funds raised from the nation, the Grade II listed St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance is a lasting memorial to the aircrew who gave their lives in aerial combat during the Second World War.

The trust’s plans, which are supported by Historic England, include the removal of the existing side annex, or vestry, with a new museum “providing a visual frame around the chapel”.

Rita’s partner, David Evans, said: “I now feel as though I have the mandate to take this to the key players. We have already contacted The Heritage Lottery to ask them if they really want to finance something that the public are against.”

The couple said they are in the process of writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, adding that their petition would eventually be presented to Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

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Anti-Luddite · 7 days ago · Report

Lembit Opik let Ms Redford do all the speaking? Knowing Ms Radford's skill and in seizing a microphone from a speaker's hand, mid-speech, when disagreeing with one of her 'in the public intrest' campaigns. It's hardly surprising. 10,000 signatures? Time she 'piped-down' and let majority opinion get on with it! Many other causes she could apply her talents to. Reconciliation of N Korea & the USA perhaps?

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