25th Jun, 2019

Older people's flats given the go ahead for Windsor Street as Cold War history is revealed

Harry Leach 6th May, 2019

THE CONTROVERSIAL proposal to build 67 new apartments for older people on the former Bromsgrove Library, council buildings and fire station was given the go ahead by the district’s planning committee.

The application for Windsor Street by developers Adlington had previously been turned down after opposers pointed out there were already 22 developments for older people within half-a-mile of the site, not including Recreation Road.

Calls were made for the site to be used for housing for young people and families.

At Monday’s meeting Bromsgrove Society Chairman Pat Tansell alerted the members to the existence of a former Cold War Civil Defence centre, moments before the buildings’ demolition was given the green light.

Planning officers were unaware of the Cold War centre which was under the county council buildings.

The centre is believed to have been used for ‘communication’ in the event of nuclear attacks.

Pat, who worked at the old library between 1981 and 2015 before it moved to its new site, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I read through the planning application and there wasn’t any mention of the centre.

“It’s important things like this don’t get lost so I’m glad the council has agreed to keep a historic record of it it – which includes measuring it and taking pictures – to allow future generations to learn about it.

“I knew it was there from my time at the old library, because we used to store books down there.

“We were always very careful to avoid interfering with equipment and didn’t ask too many questions about what it was used for.”

Pat said she remembered people visiting occasionally and testing a communications device mounted on a wall.

When the building closed in 2015 the device along with a map showing the area around Birmingham, was donated by Worcestershire County Council to the National Collection of Telephone Kiosks at Avoncroft Museum.

Little else is know about the centre before it was abandoned during the early 90s.

Pat added: “It’s a pity that the building can’t be re-purposed.

“We had hoped it could be used as a mixed residential and commercial property that might also have housed an attraction such as a children’s soft play area.

“It will be sad to see the complex demolished but we are pleased the Civil Defence Centre will be fully recorded.”

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