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‘Repair work’ on rusting gates at St George’s RAF Chapel has been approved

PUBLISHED: 10:15 18 August 2017

St George's RAF Chapel entrance. (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

St George's RAF Chapel entrance. (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Archant

Proposals will be put to council on Thursday, August 17

Paint is peeling and rust has been spotted along St George's RAF Chapel's fencing. (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) Paint is peeling and rust has been spotted along St George's RAF Chapel's fencing. (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Much-needed repair works to the rusted entrance gates of Biggin Hill’s memorial chapel have been approved.

St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance was built to commemorate the airmen lost whilst flying from Biggin Hill in the Second World War, and is often visited by veterans and their families to pay respect to their fallen comrades.

The church was consecrated in 1951, having been designed by flight lieutenant Wemys Wylton Todd, who is said to have leant his architectural services to help design tunnels for the Great Escape.

More than 60 years later, steel railings and a pair of gates bearing the RAF insignia outside the chapel have been worn down by time.

The fencing’s blue paint is peeling and there is further evidence of rust to the entrance.

On Thursday, planning councillors approved plans to return the fencing and gate to its former glory.

The repair works are expected to use “sound conservation techniques to protect and repair the existing fabric.

In order to repair years of corrosion suffered by the structure on Main Road, sections will be taken offsite to a specialist conservation factory where work will be completed.

Analysis has revealed the fence was originally painted in ‘bronze green’ and repair works are expected to restore the steel frame to its original colour, compared to the flaking blue paint currently on show.

Later this year, work is expected to get underway on the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum.

Plans already approved mean an extension of the chapel built in 1990 will be demolished, returning it to its original structure.

More than 10,000 people signed a petition to protect the site, but the council moved ahead with plans, pledging to keep the chapel as a “permanent shrine of remembrance.”

Historic England went on to back the demolition.

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