Northern Ireland’s only Cold War bunker was built to survive a nuclear attack, but it’s now dangerous to enter due to a buildup of a deadly gas. The Co. Antrim bunker is over 46,000 square feet. It was built to provide the province’s government a place to work if there was ever a Soviet missile attack.
The facility is up for sale with an asking price of GBP £575,000. Mid & East Antrim Borough Council is considering purchasing the bunker and potentially turning it into a Cold War museum. Councilors were offered an opportunity to view the facility and had until July 12th to express an interest in doing so.
However, a council report states that “due to the secure nature of the site and the need to decontaminate the facility from gas build-up, it may not be possible to facilitate more than one date for a visit.”
Martin Dixon is the chairman of Subterranea Brittanica, a society that studies underground facilities in Britain. He is aware of this bunker but could not think of a particular risk from gas in a bunker of this type. Still, “it is always better to be safe than sorry and ensure air quality is tested. In operation, the bunker would have had an extensive air filtration and conditioning plant, but I don’t know if these are still serviceable,” Dixon said.
The shelter was built to house 236 people and keep them safe for at least one month. The government requested the bunker during the last stages of the Cold War. It has dormitories, kitchens, and decontamination chambers.
The property agent in charge of the sale is Lambert Smith Hampton. On its website, it describes the bunker, say it “is believed to be one of the last and most technologically advanced bunkers built in the UK. The lower floor is completely underground and the upper floor is mounded over with one cubic meter of earth. The building has three points of access, all via interlocking double blast doors.”
The bunker also includes a BBC broadcast facility.