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Chris bags £21.5k nuclear bunker as new eco-retreat

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

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A SECRET nuclear bunker built during the height of the Cold War could be turned into an eco-retreat after it was bought at auction for £21,500.

The 14ft by 8ft room, which does not have electricity, water, toilet or plumbing, was bagged by Chris Petrie at £18,000 over its guide price.

But Mr Petrie is delighted with his buy, which is sited next to the A514 Derby to Swadlincote road close to Melbourne on the east side of Stanton Hill.

The 39-year-old, of Rotherham, said: “It’s a very picturesque area. You are not going to get views like that anywhere else.

“It was set up as an observation post during the Cold War – built during a period of high nuclear paranoya and I fancy turning the story around with a sense of irony so that rather than having it as a place to save people from the destruction of the earth, it will be an environmentally-friendly system that has no impact on the land.

“I’m guessing, originally, there would have been an old diesel generator in there, chucking out fumes. With today’s technology, I reckon I could get it up and running so it wouldn’t even cost the earth.”

Mr Petrie has not even been able to venture down the 14 rickety rungs inside the bunker, which has half an inch of water on the floor, as the hatch is currently sealed.

But he said that as soon as he saw the site on the internet he was taken by it.

“I have been searching for 10 years for land to get my foot on the ladder,” said Mr Petrie.

“This has very panoramic views – it’s on top of a hill and it’s just glorious.”

Mr Petrie, who works as head of maintenance at a private estate, envisages the area of land would be “a bit of a retreat”.

“There’s a whole spectrum of possibilities at the moment and there’s the potential to open it up to the public.”

Paperwork unearthed online by Bagshaws Residential Estate Agents, which auctioned the bunker, showed it was opened in 1961 by the Royal Observers Corps and was known by them as “Post 31 Group 8”. It was closed in 1968 before being reopened in 1975 and then closed again in the 1990s.

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