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Orpington MP Jo Johnson offers support to plans to save Priory

PUBLISHED: 14:53 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:53 22 March 2016

Orpington Priory

Orpington Priory

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The Conservative MP met with representatives from Orpington Priory Community Hub (OPCH), the charitable trust aiming to secure its future, last Friday

Jo Johnson. Photo: Daniel JonesJo Johnson. Photo: Daniel Jones

Local MP Jo Johnson has thrown his weight behind “exciting proposals” to save Orpington Priory.

The Conservative MP met with representatives from Orpington Priory Community Hub (OPCH), the charitable trust aiming to secure its future, last Friday, to hear of plans for the Grade II listed building that dates from the 14th century.

Trustees want to make the Priory an established centre for heritage, community and events at the heart of Orpington.

Proposals include a tea room, room hire for events as wide ranging as comedy nights, wedding receptions, business meetings and baby naming ceremonies, and a cultural programme including special exhibitions on famous local figures and a heritage programme for schools.

Mr Johnson said: “The OPCH steering committee and trustees have put together terrific proposals to secure the future of the Orpington Priory.

“I am pleased to lend my support to their efforts which would ensure we preserve this important part of Orpington’s heritage for the benefit of our community and for future generations.

“These are exciting proposals in keeping with the strength of community spirit in Orpington and I very much hope that the positive energy of this committee will see results.”

The Priory was formerly home to Bromley Museum, but it closed its doors on September 25 last year, with a decision to sell the building on a long lease made by Bromley council the following month.

The council insists it does not need to raise capital funds but wants to avoid further annual running and maintenance costs so welcomed bids from constituted community organisations, including OPCH.

Chair Sally Pennington told the Bromley Times in January that she had set an ambitious fundraising target of £600,000, although events to generate the cash are not scheduled to kick off until the trust is given the green light later in the year.

She said: “Things are progressing well, and we’re on track to present our business plan to the council by May 20 and will probably get a definitive answer from them in September.

“But fundraising will kick off at a later date, because it wouldn’t be right to get people to give you money for an asset you don’t have yet.”

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