July 24 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
It’s the nuclear bunker that’s so secret no one knows how to get into it.
Ipswich council has just completed the purchase of the former Crown Court building in Civic Drive – which comes complete with a nuclear bunker underneath.
Officials would love to have a look around the bunker, even possibly taking visitors on guided tours, but they have no idea how to get into it!
There is no door from the Crown Court building.
There is believed to be an entrance from the police station next door, in which case the borough should be able to get in after the end of next month because they’re buying that as well.
Some believe there was an entrance from the bottom basement of the Civic Centre tower block which was demolished in 2008 – but long serving borough employs say they are not aware of it.
The Star was shown around the former Crown Court by borough leader David Ellesmere and property manager John Parling just days after it completed the deal to buy the building from the Ministry of Justice.
The Crown Court moved out when its new building in Russell Road opened in 2004 – and until 2012 the offices were used by police as an annex to their station next door.
Mr Ellesmere said: “We know the bunker is underneath the building, but the entrance is thought to have been concreted over and we have not managed to find where it is.
“I would like to be able to open it up. There is a real fascination about this kind of thing. I’d like to be able to give visitors a guided tour to see what there is under here. But we have to find a way in first.”
And he admitted the search for the bunker had dominated discussions since the council had taken over the building.
“John Parling and his team did a great job in sorting out this deal, but all he keeps getting asked is ‘Where’s the bunker?’ I think he’s heard enough about that now.”
The borough is due to take over the ownership of the police station in the spring when the police finally move to their new office in Museum Street. Most of the building has been empty since the police moved to Landmark House in 2012.
Officially it might not be their top priority, but senior officers and councillors are expected to try to find an entrance to the bunker – and see if there is any way it can be opened.