Bunker site visit for councillors

The nuclear bunker at Woodside Road. (Editorial Image).
The nuclear bunker at Woodside Road. (Editorial Image).

Mid & East Antrim Councillors are being given the opportunity to visit the site of Northern Ireland’s only nuclear bunker on the outskirts of Ballymena.

The facility, which has officially been decommissioned, has been offered for sale on the open property market for offers around £575k and councillors had previously requested guidance in the form of a report into the potential of the site for tourism development.

An update to the July monthly meeting of Council revealed that the consultancy firm appointed to carry out the report, BTS Tourism Consultants, have completed research into stage one of their report which is a review of other similar sites and their uses.

Councillors were also informed that BTS now require to undertake a more detailed review of the Ballymena site with a visit to be facilitated by the Department for Communities as soon as possible and that the Assistant Director of Heritage Records and Designations at The Department for Communities, which is currently responsible for the facility, had extended an invitation to councillors to view the site.

It was also pointed out to the monthly meeting in The Braid that it may not be possible to faciliate more than one date for a visit by councillors “due to the secure nature of the site and the need to decontaminate the facility from gas build up”.

Located on a 3.74-acre site at Woodside Road, the government-owned bunker constructed during the Cold War is believed to be one of the last buildings of its kind ever built in the United Kingdom.

The bunker, which can house up to 235 people, contains dormitories, kitchen facilities, decontamination chambers, and it is understood has been kept in a “fit and ready state” for emergencies since 1990.