FROM THE NATIONAL SECRETARY
RAF Bentley Priory Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) – Second Round of Public Consultation Harrow council has prepared the SPD to inform the future development of RAF Bentley Priory. If you have already written to comment you will have received a leaflet that outlines the document contents. Let me know if you would like a copy of the leaflet. The second round of public consultation runs from 18 June to 30 July 2007. Please write as requested in the May Snippets to support the aims of Bentley Priory BoB Trust.
The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust has produced a leaflet to encourage donations to the Trust to help with its preservation of Bentley Priory. I and your Area Reps have a limited number of the leaflets that has a gift aid form if anyone wants to donate to the charity get in touch to request the form or visit the website at www.bentleypriory.org
Newsletter and web site text. On The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust
Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge, Chairman of The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, has invited all former members of the Royal Observer Corps to write to Harrow Council in support of the Trusts aim to establish a lasting memorial and a World class museum to The Few and to The Battle of Britain at their spiritual home, Bentley Priory. See www.bentleypriory.org
The Ministry of Defence will vacate the site in 2008 and has handed over the Priory and its 57 acres to a property developer who proposes commercial use by establishing a five star hotel, spa and casino. Harrow Council have recently issued an Issues and Options document on the site, which may be downloaded from their web site www.harrow.gov.uk. The consultation period closed on April 2nd having already received responses from stakeholders and interested parties. Harrow’s next action is to consider public reaction to the document and then to publish a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
To those who write:-
'The Trust would be greatly assisted if the historical and the architectural context of the Priory were mentioned in letters of support sent to Harrow by former ROC members.
'Write to Harrow Council sooner rather than later as the end date for public consultation period is not known.'
The building was designed in 1788 by the eminent architect Sir John Soane and its classical features do not easily lend themselves to adaptation to modern commercial requirements. Bentley Priory has had many owners, perhaps the most famous being the dowager Queen Adelaide, widow of William IV who took up residence in 1848 and died there in1849.
The Priory had a long and varied history before first the Observer Corps and then Fighter Command under Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding moved in prior to the outbreak of World War 2. Fighter Command’s famous victory which was co-ordinated from Bentley Priory can be compared to Lord Nelson’s victor at Trafalgar as both feats of arms prevented Britain from being invaded by Continental aggressors. Winning the Battle of Britain allowed Britain to host the massive forces needed for the Normandy Invasion which freed Western Europe and re-established democracy among the liberated nations.
The first elements of the Observer Corps ,the original Southern Area Command, was established at Bentley Priory several months before the arrival of Fighter Command and later, Royal Observer Corps Headquarters were relocated to Bentley Priory immediately prior to the outbreak of World War 2. During the war over 35,000 observers were commanded from HQROC Bentley Priory and many HQ staff were residents of local boroughs, which enhances the Priory’s unique local importance. Bentley Priory is therefore also the spiritual home of the Royal Observer Corps and deserves to be protected and developed for public use as a memorial museum to educate future generations of the benefits of the volunteer spirit which helped us through the dark years of World War 2 to victory in 1945. HQROC finally closed in March 1996, bringing to an end sixty years of close contact with the Royal Air Force and the London Borough of Harrow.
Please send your letter of support direct to:
Harrow Council, Planning Department, Garden House, 5 St John’s Road, Harrow, HA1 2EE.
21st April 2007