It is now more than 7 months since Brannen and Partners, under instruction from the Residents Management Company, instructed Bunker 13 to stop their ongoing maintenance and comprehensive internal and external inspection regime of the Grade II Listed World War Two Bunker in the grounds of the Central Grange Estate.
Our dehumidifiers had to be removed leaving the internals of the structure at risk of further deterioration. There is no regular monitoring of water ingress and checking the pumps put in place by the Management Company to prevent this happening. This is of great concern to Newcastle City Council Heritage department also who are undertaking periodic inspections.
The reason cited for preventing Bunker 13 access was stated as health and safety concerns. Despite Bunker 13 having a H&S professional consultant as one of our directors and our repeated requests for any information on the risks identified by them no details have been provided. The one concern we do have is regarding the electrical system which has not been inspected/tested for a number of years and thus until inspected this remains a potential fire risk.
We believe enough time has now elapsed for any H&S issues to have been addressed and so we will be asking for access by Bunker 13 to the Bunker to resume our caretaking role. This in turn would mean the process of seeking funding for the restoration project could start once again.
Unfortunately, our preservation activities have been STOPPED as the Residents Management Company refuse to engage in constructive discussions with us or anyone about the future of the bunker.
We remain concerned that H&S concerns are being given as a smoke screen to keep the bunker disused mothballed and rotting away to save short term costs and feel this is a very short-sighted plan as the costs of repair required to a listed building once allowed to deteriorate will sadly fall on the Central Grange Residents. We are also concerned that as we are not undertaking our regular security inspections the Bunker is at high risk of break in and anti-social behaviour.
We will keep you informed as to the management company’s response to our request to once again be granted access to act as caretakers of the bunker and restart the bunker project.