Biggin Hill hustings will seek candidates’ views on controversial airport museum plans
PUBLISHED: 15:09 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:06 30 May 2017
All bar one of the candidates have responded positively to invitations
A hustings for Biggin Hill residents to grill their parliamentary candidates ahead of next week’s general election will take place tonight (Tuesday).
The Women’s Institute Hall in Lebanon Gardens will host the Orpington constituency electoral hustings, organised by Biggin Hill Chapel Action Group.
The group was set up in response to controversial plans for a museum to be built next to St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance, which campaigners fear could see part of the chapel removed.
“We’ve sent invites out to all five candidates and four have come back with positive responses, only Jo Johnson hasn’t responded,” said Rita Radford from the group.
“It’s been decided there will be questions on the NHS, immigration and the Biggin Hill museum, so there is a spread of national and local issues.
“A lot of people feel very strongly about the museum plans, because most residents in Biggin Hill were not even aware the plans were being put forward by Bromley council, and there have been previous museum plans approved before, it’s something we continue to campaign on.”
Earlier this month, the council approved plans for a “sensitive” museum design to wrap around the chapel “in the vein of a garden wall or cloisters,” while ensuring the chapel “remains a permanent shrine of remembrance to those who gave their lives four our freedom, and that Biggin Hill’s heritage is protected and revealed”, a council spokesperson said.
Conservative candidate Jo Johnson told us he could not make tonight’s hustings “due to a long-standing prior commitment”, but voiced his support for the museum, saying “no design will please everyone”.
Before the museum can be built, the plans require approval for a £2million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Should the grant be approved, building works are expected to start in October this year.
The hustings gets underway from 7.30pm tonight (Tuesday), with questions being taken from the audience and each candidate being given equal time to answer.