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Thread: Bentley Priory

  1. #1

    Default Bentley Priory

    This article may interest some of you.

    Taken from the Harrow Times website;

    Bentley Priory plans submitted
    By Jack Royston

    RAF Bentley Priory could be turned into a museum and flats
    PLANS to convert a historic air force base in Stanmore into a museum and flats have been submitted to Harrow Council.

    VSM Estates plans to build flats in and around the 18th Century mansion at RAF Bentley Priory, in Common Road, but the main rooms of the building will be turned into a museum to commemorate its history.

    Erica Ferguson, of the RAF Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, which will run the museum if the project goes ahead, said she supported the proposals.

    She said: "We are very pleased. VSM have been good partners so far and we see this as a significant step.

    "We looked at it and we worked through a whole load of scenarios and we felt this was the best one."

    The air base is most famous for its role in the Battle of Britain during World War II, when it was the headquarters of Fighter Command.

    The museum will record the history of the base and its role in the war.

    VSM Estates has offered to pay for the conversion and Ms Ferguson said the Battle of Britain Trust is trying to raise around £2.5m to pay for installations.

    Roland Jeffrey, projects advisor for the Prince's Regeneration Trust, has been involved in negotiations over the future of the site.

    He said: "We feel it's a fantastic opportunity, this chance isn't going to come up again.

    "The museum and the other attractions will be in the best bit of the house, the finest rooms.

    "We think they will be a great space to visit. It will have the feel of a country estate much more than at the moment."

    Part of the building was damaged by a fire in 1947 and it is these rooms which will be converted into housing under the current proposals.

    In total there will be 103 flats built on the site, with the majority based away from the Grade 2* listed mansion.

    Colin Darby, planning manager at VSM Estates, said: "We look forward to continuing to work closely will all those with an interest in the future of the priory to deliver a proposal that does credit to this unique site."

    It was made available to developers by the Ministry of Defence as part of plans to relocate squadrons from six different bases into one headquarters ... mitted.php
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 22-12-2012 at 23:23.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Byfleet, Surrey

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Just wondering, has anyone heard any more recent news for this topic?

  3. #3

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Article from the Harrow Times;

    RAF bunker to be filled in at Bentley Priory in Stanmore

    A HISTORIC bunker at an ex-RAF base will be filled in this month.

    VSM Estates owns Bentley Priory, in The Common, Stanmore, and is demolishing the interior of a Cold War bunker as it prepares to remarket the site.

    Workmen will remove the top soil before knocking in the roof and filling the bunker with rubble.

    The top soil will then be replaced, leaving the exterior of the building still in tact.

    But the move is opposed by the Stanmore Association, with John Williams, the chairman, saying it should be opened to the public.

    He said: “The entrance will still be there, with the big double doors and the blast wall. It seems like a bit of a shame though.

    “When I give tours of Bentley Priory a lot of people ask about the bunker, they all want to see it.

    “The bunker is such a mysterious place, the whole of Bentley Priory is a mystery to Stanmore residents who used to wonder what was happening on the other side of the fence.”

    Guy Gusterson, land director at VSM Estates, said: “The bunker on the site will be filled in as part of the development works to make the site safe for public access.

    “English Heritage has decided not to list the bunker and has noted that there are better examples of Cold War bunkers in the UK which should be retained.”

    The RAF Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust backed VSM Estates, saying the cost of maintaining the bunker would be too great.

    Squadron Leader Erica Ferguson said: “The bunker has never been part of the trust's plans because they just couldn't afford it.

    “The Second World War bunker disappeared in the early 80s when the Cold War bunker was built.”

  4. #4

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Second article, see post above for the first article regarding the Bunker at Bentley Priory. Also from the Harrow Times

    Hopes for Bentley Priory museum as ex-RAF base goes back on the market

    A STANMORE airbase known as the spiritual home of the Few will go back on the market by the end of this month.

    Bentley Priory, the home of Fighter Command during the Second World War, was passed to VSM Estates after the RAF withdrew in May, 2008, throwing its future as a historic landmark into doubt.

    "It would be an absolute disgrace if the museum didn't exist."
    Dorothy Pope, blitz survivor

    Following campaigning by local residents a commemorative Battle of Britain museum was secured alongside plans to turn the site into 177 luxury flats and 162 houses.

    But as the Harrow Times exclusively reported in March last year the whole project was shelved after the housing market collapsed in the wake of the credit crunch.

    The plans have now been resurrected, and VSM Estates says it is confident about finding a buyer.

    The news has sparked hopes the museum may finally be built as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by RAF pilots during a period in Britain's history where the future seemed most in doubt.

    Dorothy Pope, a survivor of the Coventry blitz, who now lives in Runnelfield, Harrow-on-the-Hill, described the move as “wonderful”.

    She said: “It would be an absolute disgrace if the museum didn't exist. How could anyone let something so important and historic fade into nothing.

    “It's difficult to put into words what this site means. It's just that I know how important it was not just to my present existence but to the existence of young people today.

    “I just want the present generation and all the coming generations to know what life would have been like had we not won the war.”

    Squadron Leader Erica Ferguson, of the RAF Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, said: “It's always been a strong site and a very desirable one.

    “If any venue can pick up then Bentley Priory can, we are very pleased.”

    Guy Gusterson, land director at VSM Estates, told the Harrow Times how the recession has forced the company to look again at proposals and said it is in talks with Harrow Council to find ways to make the scheme more viable.

    The authority set down guidelines for any potential developments at the base in early 2008, and planning consent was granted for a project involving housing and the museum in July that year.

    Mr Gusterson said the museum would be included in the scheme.

    He said: “We will recommence marketing of the RAF Bentley Priory site later this month and we are confident that a suitable housebuilder will be appointed in due course to deliver this exceptional development.”

  5. #5

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Taken from Harrow Times paper website

    SPITFIRES, swing music and dance displays are all in the mix for a special Forties Day at Bentley Priory.

    Organised by St Luke's Hospice and the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, the all-day event, on Saturday, May 22, will transport visitors back in time to the wartime era.

    During the day, visitors can enjoy an afternoon tea, a Spitfire display, military, brass and steel pan bands, dance, drill and re-enactment displays and an art exhibition. For youngsters there are plenty of children's workshops on offer and regular tours of the priory will be available.

    Entrance costs £3.50, children free. Guided tours must be pre-booked, minimum donation of £2 payable on the day.

    The evening's events will include Forties dance displays, an art exhibition, and music from the Apollo Male Voice Choir.

    Visitors can relax on the terrace with panoramic views of London or enjoy a drink in the officer's mess before a two course dinner and dancing to the sounds of Jazz Hands Swing Orchestra.

    Full price is £25 to include a two-course meal. Discount price of £22.50 is available to pensioners, and those booking before the end of March.

    Bentley Priory is a handsome country house which has gone down in history as the headquarters of Fighter Command, the spot from which Sir Hugh Dowding directed his men in the Battle of Britain.

    For information and to make a booking, contact Mita Vaghji on 020 8382 8063 or visit

  6. #6
    Senior Member ianbache's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Dyffryn Ardudwy/Telford

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Hi all
    Before this historic bunker returns to mother earth check out this, go to military on the forum
    A fantastic view of the bunker inside

  7. #7

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Taken from here;

    Stanmore Society searches for group to save doomed RAF bunker at Bentley Priory

    A RESIDENTS' group is hoping to save a historic Cold War bunker at a former RAF base from demolition.

    VSM Estates, which currently owns Bentley Priory, in Stanmore, wants to fill in the underground shelter but has met with vocal opposition from the Stanmore Society.

    The RAF Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust says it does not have enough money to maintain the site and the residents' association is trying to find another group willing to take on responsibility for the site.

    Some of the structure, including the blast doors, will remain intact but the move would rule out the possibility of it being reopened for guided tours inside.

    A planning application for permission to demolish the bunker has been submitted by VSM Estates and is due to be considered on September 15.

    John Williams, the Stanmore Society's chairman, wrote to Harrow Council's planning committee in March objecting “in the strongest possible terms”.

    He said: “We can see no point in spending thousands of pounds destroying something which in the 1980s cost millions of pounds to build.

    “This is a unique building in Harrow and should be preserved intact. We appreciate that no intentions exist at present to open the building to the public but this view could change at some future point.

    “VSM's action would render this impossible. To quote a sales expression, 'when it's gone, it's gone'.”

    As the home of Fighter Command during World War Two, Bentley Priory holds a special place in the hearts of veterans and military enthusiasts across the country.

    But the original Second World War bunker was lost when the current Cold War bunker was built and the newer structure has not been given listed status.

    VSM Estates is currently in negotiations to sell Bentley Priory to a developer for housing and if the project goes ahead a commemorative museum to the Battle of Britain will be set up in the most historic rooms.

    Paul Teverson, a spokesman for the company, said: “VSM Estates has discussed the bunker with the Stanmore Society.

    “Our recent submission to Harrow Council includes a detailed analysis of options for the bunker’s future, concluding that our proposals are the only feasible solution. We are willing to continue to discuss our plans with interested parties. However, a combination of many factors means that this is the only solution which assists with securing the wider preservation of Bentley Priory and the Mansion House.”

  8. #8
    Senior Member Carnaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Bristol, UK

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    It would make a very secure archive for someone ,


  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Didnt realise that the original bunker has gone. And how ironic that the council will consider it on 15th September!

  10. #10
    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Ware, Herts

    Default Re: RAF Bentley Priory

    Sunday 15th September 'Battle of Britain' Day! Ironic indeed

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