Castle Point Borough Council Nuclear/Emergency Bunker

Hello Beyond the Point readers! We are yet again revealing the unseen history of South-East Essex with us going below the ground level this time! After being invited by the Mayor, we liaised with Kellie Jeffery, Civic Support Officer, and Beyond the Point was given the green light to go below ground level to have an exclusive tour of their emergency bunker. In the late 1980’s plans were drawn up by the Government for more emergency control/command points. Being the late cold-war era, this one was constructed when the new council offices were built, being able to hold officials for up to 30 days. Being no longer strong enough to protect against a modern nuclear bomb, the bunker is now used as an emergency strategic command point for the most likely; oil spillage, gas explosion, flood or COMAH (Control major accident hazards). We have some photos below with the full set being available at our Facebook site however filming wasn’t allowed. We asked permission to take all photos with sensitive information being blurred and un-readable..

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We were given the tour by Miles Glover, the joint emergency planning officer and following the signs for the ‘Emergency Planning Control Centre’ we went down!

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The first room that we came to was this one above. In here lies a couple of televisions, a computer and radio which will be used for communication as well as to link with the press. Everything in every room is kept ready for an emergency to happen at any time. The next room was the main planning room. The general councillors would not go here, instead it would be people who have a ‘role to play’ as councillors would be the link between the public and the ‘big men’.

There was a small room off of this which contained old signs of old job titles (remaining from when it was first built), as well as old maps and also the air circulation control which can be done electronically or manually. This machine cleans the air and circulates it as in the event of an explosion, they would not want toxic gasses, or nuclear fallout, in the bunker!

After this we were lead into the emergency planning stores, featured below. The beds are originally however people wouldn’t sleep here nowadays as there would have to be two exits from the room. In here now is supplies for a rest centre. This includes bedding, pumps and even animal cages! Food isn’t kept in the bunker any more and surprisingly, the council would pop to Morrisons or somewhere for food supplies in the event of an emergency! – No I am not winding you up!

Moving onto the next room (he types feeling like a tour guide) we come to the kitchen. The dispensers that you can see are actually taps, filtering water from radioactive material. All of this is original! The room following this is the toilets which are not used due to the waste being stored in the building, so it would only be used if there was an emergency.

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In the event of the door being locked or jammed, you could insert the ‘key’ (in the yellow holder) into a whole in the door, just below the handle, and turn this to open the door. The safety cord is still on the key so it has never been used!

Walking onwards past these big beasts we came to the other entrance to the bunker where people could be decontaminated before going on further. The blue tank in the photographs is where the water (probably mixed with chemicals) used for decontamination, would be stored. We then went onto the generate room, first greeted by hazard signs! (Getting exciting isn’t it!)

Below we can see the generator. The wire going across with the red ‘label’ on it, has magnesium on it. In the event of the generator overheating, the magnesium, which is holding the wire together, will snap and cut the generator off, causing the sprinklers in there to activate.

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To conclude from this exclusive tour we leave you with these two photos of the council meeting room. This is where press releases will be made from. Public meetings regarding planning permission e.t.c will also be done from here and is used frequently. Keep an eye on the site next week as we have some very special news to reveal!

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