Secret bunker could become a home
By James HoreA NUCLEAR bunker in the heart of the East Anglian countryside looks set to be sold for more than £350,000.The Essex Secret Bunker in Mistley was built for the army in 1951 at a time when growing Cold War tensions led to fears of atomic weapons being used against the country.
By James Hore
A NUCLEAR bunker in the heart of the East Anglian countryside looks set to be sold for more than £350,000.
The Essex Secret Bunker in Mistley was built for the army in 1951 at a time when growing Cold War tensions led to fears of atomic weapons being used against the country.
The 14,000sq ft building - which has 2ft thick reinforced concrete walls and heavy steel blast doors - has been put up for sale and has attracted bids from companies looking to provide secure data storage and from one person who would like to live there.
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In 1995 the secret bunker was opened to the public for the first time, with visitors able to tour the control room with its maps, files and computers dating back to the 1960s.
But after six years the Bunker Preservation Trust closed the museum because it needed refurbishing, although it did hope to reopen the building in the future as an archive centre.
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Dr James Fox, former secretary of the trust, said it would be good to see the successful bidder live in the bunker as the building would be more likely to retain more of its character.
Dr Fox added the original plan for the bunker to reopen as an archive centre had been halted because as much as 40,000sq ft of space was needed to store the collection of documents.
Richard Bray, of Lambert Smith Hampton estate agents, which is handling the sale, said the bunker also came with an air filtration system and an emergency power generator.
"We have had offers from two people looking at the possibility of using it as a secure data centre. If you put your computer services in a nuclear bunker, they will be pretty secure," he added.
"We have also had an offer from someone looking to convert it to a house. The person already has a house with its own bunker, but that is far smaller than Mistley."
Mr Bray said he expected one of the offers to be accepted by owners Essex County Council and the former trust within a matter of weeks.
The bunker sits half above and half below ground and was one of 27 identical sites constructed around the UK. In 1963 the county council took over the bunker and used it as an emergency control centre.