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Ipswich: Bunker still hidden for “security reasons”

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 February 2014

Ipswich police station.

Ipswich police station.

Archant

The entrance to the nuclear bunker under the former Ipswich Crown Court building is accessible from the town’s police station, we can reveal today.

But what lies behind the door to the reinforced rooms must remain a secret for “security reasons” according to the police.

After we revealed yesterday that borough officials who have bought the old Crown Court building in Civic Drive could not find the entrance to the bunker beneath the building, we have heard from former police officers and employees who confirmed that the entrance is from the station next door.

One former officer said: “It is accessible from the police station, which is the only way in as far as I know. It is not that impressive.

“It was decommissioned years ago after the Cold War ended and was used just for storage. It is a time warp.

“I think the police own it or were certainly given the responsibility for it and it was never up to any modern standards other than to use it for storage.

“From memory there are at least three long rooms one was used as an identification line up and there is an access route to the side but the police station is the main way.

“There are numerous side rooms where someone would sleep. It is not deep and just below street level so it must have been doubtful whether it would have withstood a nuclear fall out or blast!

“I suspect it will be pretty run down as there will not have been any investment for some time.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed they had access to the bunker, but said it would not be possible for us to see inside, saying “security reasons” made it inaccessible.

However we should be able to get in during the spring. The Police Station is due to close at the end of next month when a new office for the police in the town centre opens in Museum Street.

The building is due to be handed back to the borough council at the end of April – and we should then get a look at the bunker.

Borough leader David Ellesmere said: “People are fascinated by this kind of thing, even if it does look pretty unexciting when you get in it!

“We shall certainly be interested in having a look – and will probably offer members of the public the chance of taking a guided tour around the bunker.”

However that opportunity might not last long – the police station is expected to be demolished to clear the site for redevelopment in the long term.

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