The Grade II-listed Officers’ Mess at Kenley airfield was all-but destroyed by fire last night.
Coincidentally, the two-storey building was subject to a planning application with Tandridge District Council for conversion into flats, as Inside Croydon reported last week.
Located on the on the opposite side of the airfield from where the local Friends group and historians are putting together a Battle of Britain visitor centre, the Kenley Officers’ Mess was one of the last examples of pre-Second World War military architecture still surviving. It had been home to RAF fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
The building was spotted ablaze around 11pm, by a passing dog walker.
Firefighters were still on the scene at 10am today, with a spokesman from Surrey Fire and Rescue reported as saying that the building’s interior are “completely destroyed”. Which should make it all the more convenient for any development plans, someone is bound to suggest.
Fire engines from Reigate, Godstone, Banstead, Oxted, Warlingham and Addlestone had attended the blaze, but they were hampered by high winds and the absence of a ready supply of water near the derelict building.
No one was injured and the cause of the fire is “under investigation”.
Good luck with that.
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