Friendly new role for South Creake's wartime bunkers
Bunkers which were used in the Second World War to spot approaching enemy aircraft will be a lot more welcoming to visitors in a proposed new role.
Plans are with West Norfolk Council for a Royal Observation Corps monitoring post and subterranean bunker at South Creake to become a site for five innovative and eco-friendly holiday lets.
The scheme is seen as a way of protecting historic assets and at the same time creating a business.
The post and bunker, sited between Bloodgate Hill and London Lane are Grade 11 listed military heritage assets but currently inaccessible to the public,
They are on high land with panoramic views to the north towards the coastline which is why they were such an ideal location to detect enemy aircraft in WW2.
The observation post was equipped with rudimentary sighting and plotting equipment and, most importantly, a telephone. In 1955 the ROC was given responsibility to warn of air attacks and to measure radioactivity levels due to the potential threat of a nuclear war during the Cold War.
The above ground monitoring posts offered little protection from radioactivity so a network of underground posts were constructed alongside them.
Both have been illicitly accessed and graffited and in their current state, both heritage assets are considered to be at risk. People could walk right past the site and not realise its historical significance.
A statement in the application claims that the holiday lets proposal will restore and incorporate the history of the site, protect the assets and offer visitors a better understanding of their history.
The scheme would construct five contemporary structures raised above the ground on slender concrete legs to give occupants views north to the sea. Each unit will have a large glazed sliding door to make the most of the location and will be accessed by a metal stairway to mimic the original posts' access ladders.
The site is intended to be self-sufficient in generating its own power and treating its own waste water on site.
Designers PIP Architects say it will also be wheelchair friendly – two units will have lifts – and there will be tracks around the heritage relics.