Mistley: Plans to convert Cold War bunker into maisonettes is rejected

The outside of the Mistley bunker when it was open as a Cold War museum

The outside of the Mistley bunker when it was open as a Cold War museum - Credit: Archant

PLANS to convert a former Cold War bunker in Mistley into houses have been refused permission by councillors.

Reliant Building Contractors Ltd submitted proposals to turn the Grade II listed site into three four-bed maisonettes.

The bunker, located in Shrubland Road, was constructed in 1951 as part of the anti-aircraft defence network built to protect the country from nuclear attack.

The application also sought to build 28 properties including flats and terrace houses in the grounds as an enabling development to help fund the conversion of the bunker.

Members of Tendring District Council’s (TDC) planning committee voted against the application at a meeting on Tuesday despite it being recommended for approval by officers.

TDC’s cabinet member for planning Carlo Guglielmi said: “The main issue is there were too many dwellings proposed - 31 is a huge amount for the area.

“The access through the site is abysmal and given the location there’s no way to improve access, so with 60 cars a day coming in and out that’s an intense amount of traffic.

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“I would invite the developers to come back with a scheme which is more in keeping with the area and is in line with the emerging local plan - maybe two or three larger aspirational houses, for example.”

The two-story re-inforced concrete bunker became obsolete in 1956 after the Anti-Aircraft Command was abolished and in 1963 was acquired by Essex County Council.

The bunker was de-commissioned in 1993 and opened as a museum between 1996 and 2002. Since then it has not been used.

According to officers at TDC, the bunker, which was Grade II listed in 2007, is one of the best preserved examples of its type in England.

The planning application included plans for glazed roofs, additional wall openings and new partitions, with the main internal layout remaining the same.

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