25 August 2017

Have you ever wanted to own a nuclear bunker?


With political and economic uncertainty surrounding the globe, many would think a nuclear bunker would be a useful – but costly – purchase. There is no such thing as being too careful and this bunker in Ballymena is still on the market with an asking price of £575k.

This bunker became operational in 1990 and was constructed to fit over 200 individuals including Northern Ireland’s VIPs. It was added to the property market in February 2016.

A spokesman for estate agent Lambert Smith Hampton told the Belfast Telegraph that, at present, there are no offers on this unique property, but added there is very good interest.

This bunker was built in the late 1980s and opened in 1990. It is said to be one of the most technically advanced of its kind in the UK.

There were also 44 smaller bunkers constructed across Northern Ireland that were built to observe the risk of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. In Portadown, a bunker was renovated into a museum by the Royal Observer Corps after it shut down in 1991.

This Ballymena bunker is the only one of its unique type in Northern Ireland. Extending to 46,383 sq. ft. over two floors, it offers accommodation for up to 236 individuals.

This bunker includes dormitories, male and female WCs, kitchen facilities, BBC audio visual broadcasting facility, air filtration systems, conference facilities, decontamination chambers, plant rooms and oil storage.

While the lower floor is completely underground, the upper floor is mounded over with one metre of earth.

This property is maintained by Stormont’s Executive Office and is in a “fit and ready state” for any emergency that arises; however, this bunker has never been used for its intended purpose.

The bunker has three points of access via interlocking double blast doors and also features life support systems including air filtration plants, water storage tanks and back-up generators. If a nuclear attack was to occur, the building could operate in a close down situation for approximately 30 days.

A former bunker in Chislehurst, Kent went on the market last year for £3m after being renovated into a palatial home.

Another bunker in Exeter, Devon, was transformed into a laser tag arena while another in Yeovil, Somerset became a five-bedroom timber-clad house. Another bunker in North Wales has been converted into a recording studio that boasts a number of artists having recorded here such as Kylie Minogue and Rihanna.

Throughout the Cold War, the UK government ordered that thousands of these underground bunkers to be built. Around 36 control posts and 1,600 nuclear monitoring posts for military and civil defence purposes were constructed across the UK between 1955 and 1965.

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