Kent Archaeological Review extract

Priory Outbuildings at Orpington.
by Andrew Major, MSc, ARIBA.

The restoration of the Priory Outbuilding at Orpington is an example of the way in which the developer, working in cooperation with the local authority and the historian, not only operates a commercially viable scheme, but also relieves the local authority of the burden of spending public money. The project also succeeds in realising an aim of those concerned with our environment in restoring an Historic building.

The Priory Outbuilding was well suited for conversion as the building did not have to be returned to an exact previous state. The basis of the design was that while any single point of intertest to the historian was to be retained exactly as it exists, it was possible to treat the building as a whole with relative freedom, as long as the finished effect was in keeping with the style of the building. This was of particular help, for instance, in the case of the windows, which have been added, since no windows existed before.

The finished restoration is to consist of a cottage, which was built into the structure in 1865 (which will be let) and 3400 net square feet of office space. The cost of the building work, including the cottage, will be 15/square foot net. The London Borough of Bromley was paid by the developer for a 120 year lease and no public money has been spent on the scheme.

Ed. This is splendid news after years of neglect and several attempts to demolish, the latter only stopped by local and GLC intervention and two public inquiries. The developers are to be congratulated for their vision and it must be hoped that others will follow this excellent example. The developers are Millmain and Gemini Investments Ltd; the contractors are N & R Farris Co Ltd, of Ashford, Kent and Andrew Major is the architect in charge of the overall scheme.

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