Get away from it all: Nuclear bunker for sale, just £250,000

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The Independent Online

For the housebuyer in search of rural seclusion, protection from power cuts and burglars and a phone line for all who visit, this is the ideal property

For the housebuyer in search of rural seclusion, protection from power cuts and burglars and a phone line for all who visit, this is the ideal property

The concrete fascia of the 15,000sq ft former nuclear bunker buried in Lancashire lacks rustic charm, and the four huge levers on its steel front door will make heavy work of nipping out to get the milk. But JH Walter, the estate agent trying to sell the building, at Goosnargh, near Preston, says demand for bunkers is buoyant.

They have been converted to observatories, mini-tourist attractions and holiday cottages. Three small bunkers have gone for £10,000 apiece on e-bay in the past six months alone. But Goosnargh is special, say nuclear-bunker anoraks, 300 of whom form one of Britain's more unusual interest groups, Subterrenea Britannica (www.subbrit.org).

Under a grass mound behind a hedge on a lane outside the village, the bunker has 50 rooms on two levels, a canteen, decontamination rooms and an air-filtration system. There is also the distinctive Royal Observer Corps standard-issue carpet, cut by an orange line pointing the way out of the maze of meeting rooms, control centres and phone exchanges.

If the bomb was about to go off, Goosnargh would have been the first to know through its sophisticated phone exchange. Upgraded in the 1980s, the exchange maintained contact with 850 monitoring stations across Britain. The lines are all still there, along with the blue bulb whose use was reserved for the moment that all who worked there hoped would never happen. Goosnargh was well equipped for such an apocalypse. Its electricity generation plant, huge water tanks, controlled temperature system and water borehole were improved in the 1980s. Still pristine, they could have kept the place going for weeks. The last staff turned out the lights and retired to the surface in 1992, since when the station has been empty.

Terry Tracey, a bunker station officer in the Cold War, says: "Some of the more well-off former officers have bought their own bunkers but that's not for me. I would like it saved by English Heritage. The way we're going, our children's children are not going to know what the Cold War really was."

The bunker is expected to sell for about £250,000.

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