Published: 19/10/2017 13:00 - Updated: 23/10/2017 15:04

Council puts war bunker up for sale

Written byIain Ramage

 

war bunker
Looking like nothing from the outside Highland Council's war bunker comes equipped with showers and a kitchen.

IT is a property that potential buyers may end up fighting over.

If you are home hunting for something special, this WWII bunker that played a crucial part in defending Scotland from German air attack could be right up your street – or, to be more accurate, beneath it.

The impenetrable, top secret 1940s facility in the Raigmore area of Inverness was built for the RAF and played a vital role in protecting our coastline.

It was later adopted for Cold War use and, more recently, as a civil defence headquarters shared by Highland Council and the emergency services.

It largely has no view but comes with a ready-made private car park on what is effectively the roof of two, spacious underground floors.

The council, which is handling the sale itself, has confirmed interest from a number of potential buyers. Offers are invited, with no set price.

Learning of the sale, John Bound, a partner at estate agents Galbraith in Inverness, was intrigued.

"These quirky ones can attract significant interest and can sell well," he said.

"A number of bunkers have sold down south and they do attract a lot of interest. A lot depends on who’s around at the time, who’s got a bit of spare cash and who it appeals to."

The bunker, beneath Mackintosh Road, was dug for the air force with the purpose of surviving a direct hit from the most powerful bombs of the wartime era.

In the 1980s it was strengthened "to withstand nuclear, biological or chemical attack."

Noisy neighbours should not pose a problem for its owners, thanks to its blast-proof, sealed doors.

The place is accessed by a road-level entry box at the top of descending stairs and it comes complete with an air filtration system and two diesel generators for a back-up power source.

At street level the plot spans 1.7 acres while underground it extends to almost 13,000 sq ft.

The bunker was built near the former Raigmore House, an imposing property that was demolished in 1965 after falling into disrepair.

Two other Inverness bunkers are long gone. The surviving bunker was a radar-processing facility and part of a network that helped the RAF defeat Hitler’s much larger Luftwaffe forces.

It was the collecting point for all plotting information from radar stations concerning aircraft flying within 180 miles of Scotland’s coastline. During WWII the Raigmore bunker was staffed around the clock by about 50 personnel.

In the late 1980s the bunker became the perfect base for Highland Regional Council’s civil emergency operations.

The two council staff who worked from a cabin at the site until last year have switched to offices at the council’s headquarters, hence the sale.

The bunker was called into action on numerous occasions to coordinate responses to major national emergencies.

They included the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak, the 2003 Summer Isles grounding of the Jambo freighter – and a response to major floods that affected Dingwall and other parts of the Highlands in 2005 and 2006.

It emerged this week that the police had used the facility in recent times for armed training exercises.

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