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‘Repair work’ on rusting gates at St George’s RAF Chapel set for approval

PUBLISHED: 10:11 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:12 09 August 2017

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

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

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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)

A common pilgrimage for RAF veterans has been earmarked for repair work ahead of the development of a memorial museum later this year.

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 have been worn down by time.

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

Next week, planning councillors are expected to approve repair works to restore the entrance to its former glory.

Documents released ahead of the meeting read: “The proposal has been informed by an expert conservation condition survey and sound conservation techniques are proposed to repair the existing fabric and

restore the railings and gates to their original state.”

To repair the corrosion along the 66-year-old structure, some sections will be taken offsite to a specialist conservation work.

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, as it appeared when the chapel first arrived in Biggin Hill.

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 the 1990s will be demolished, returning it to its original structure, to make way for the museum.

More than 10,000 people signed a petition to protect the chapel, 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, while council officers have recommended repair work proposals are approved at next week’s meeting.

Bromley council’s plans sub-committee meets Thursday, August 17.

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