Cold War bunker hotel plan

Thursday 20th September 2012 10:00 pm
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PLANS have been put forward to turn a Cold War nuclear bunker near Salcombe into a luxury hotel.

Architect Michael Phillips told a meeting of Malborough Parish Council on Wednesday that he hoped to 'use his experience and ingenuity to create a bespoke destination' around Soar bunker.

By incorporating the existing 15-metre concrete structure he, and his partner Mandy Morgan, want to build a 30-bedroom getaway, complete with luxury restaurants, while ensuring the architectural context of the building is maintained.

Mr Phillips said: 'It is no secret that the bunker is up for sale and I would rather see something nice done with it than have an awfully drastic change.

'Everything is still very much in the discussion stage and, although we're changing the function, we hope to have a museum with all the original 1950s equipment.

'I am moving to Lower Town, Malborough, and, as my house will overlook the site, I am keen for any developments to be in keeping with the local area and historical meaning.

'We have no developers as yet and nothing is for certain.

'It is very much a case of us having ideas and sharing them for discussion.'

Mr Phillips is no stranger to architectural success having won the Devon Building Control quality and sustainability award for his work on South Sands Hotel in Salcombe in 2011.

Precise designs for this potential venture are still being formed but he emphasised his desire to keep the military flavour.

He said: 'We don't want to lose sight of it being a Cold War bunker, it has a very important and significant history.

'In order to fully show off the beautiful surroundings we are keen to add glass extensions and potentially make small demolitions, but any rubble we have will be incorporated into the design and fully utilised.'

The bunker was built in the early 1950s as part of the RAF defence scheme in the Cold War.

In 1958, following the departure of the RAF, it was transferred to the Home Office for the regional seat of government which would control the South West in the event of a nuclear war.

Mr Phillips has already spoken to the immediate site neighbours and RAF flying squad about the plans and will address Salcombe Town Council next week.

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