For sale - one nuclear bunker, some mod cons, own radio mast

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The Independent Online

A large nuclear bunker with 50 rooms hidden under a grassy mound in rural Lancashire has gone on sale to the public.

Built in 1940 to protect RAF Fighter Command from Nazi bombs, the complex covers 15,000sq ft and has a canteen and car park.

Estate agents believe it could be used as a restaurant, wine store or paintball venue and are hoping for offers of around £240,000.

Situated on Langley Lane, near the village of Goosnargh, the two-level bunker is one of four similar installations around the country. The others are in Newcastle upon Tyne, Inverness and Nottinghamshire.

Its owner, a veterinary practice that bought the bunker from the Ministry of Defence in 2000 and occupies nearby outbuildings, has received expressions of interest from a man who wants to turn it into a home and from a would-be restaurateur. Similar sites have been used for secure storage of documents or digital data or for internet hosting. In the 1950s, it became part of the Rotor Radar Project, an early post-war defence system. The technology soon became outdated and in 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis, the bunker, which also served as a Royal Observer Corps HQ, was converted at great cost into a nuclear shelter. It was then used by the military and as a training centre for the emergency services but has been empty since 1992.

After failing to meet its reserve price at auction yesterday, the property has been put up for sale on the conventional property market. The sales particulars make much of the convenient location, two miles from the M55 motorway and within easy reach of Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Liverpool. Rob Ward, who is handling the sale by the chartered surveyors JH Walter, said: "It's not something everybody locally wants. We have to cast our net far and wide." He added: "We've had someone who wanted to live in it. We were all set to sell it, but for personal circumstances he had to withdraw. He is a bunker enthusiast who wanted somewhere safe and secure, and you couldn't get much more safe and secure than this."

Extra features include a car park, gatehouse and a 100ft high permanent aerial mast, currently being used by Vodafone. When the bunker specialists Subterranea Britannica visited in 2000, they reported it was "clean and dry throughout and the power is on in all rooms", although the site had previously been flooded beneath the floorboards at the lower levels.

The bunker is located under a mound topped with ventilation shafts. It is entered through two gas-tight blast doors, leading into two decontamination rooms. Inside, a central control room is surrounded by a balcony, a canteen and kitchen and rooms that were probably used as dormitories.

It is the first bunker of its size that JH Ward has marketed, but the firm has sold 17 smaller bunkers on the eBay auction site, where they fetched up to £25,000 and have been adapted for various uses, including a holiday home, a recording studio and an observatory.

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