It was built to withstand the blast of an atomic bomb, so it’s little wonder the demolition of a nuclear war bunker in Leeds is proving a headache for nearby residents.
Those living nearby in Lawnswood say they are the ‘end of their tether’ as engineers work to demolish the bunker under the former government building on Otley Road. Developer Telereal Trilliam is currently preparing the site for housing after outline plans were passed by Leeds City Council in May last year.
Known as ‘Leeds Ware Room Region 2’, it was built as a place for city leaders to seek refuge in the 1950s, when the fear of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union gripped the West.
But the bunker’s demolition is posing numerous difficulties due its size - 40m by 30m and 7m deep - and having two floors with walls and roofing at least one metre thick. Residents say the resulting noise is driving them crazy.
Martin Wheatley, of Lawns Hall Road, said 50ft JCB machines have been “pecking away” at the site from 8am to 5pm. He said: “We’re just at the end of our tether. We do appreciate it has to go on, but it’s just a joke. I have friends who live nearly a mile away and they can hear the noise.”
Coun Barry Anderson (Cons, Adel) is supporting the residents and said: “Obviously it was made of reinforced materials and it’s very difficult to break down. The noise is excessive. It is an unsatisfactory situation.”
Eric Williamson, development manager at Telereal Trillium said they are sympathetic to the noise generated and have worked closely with the Environmental Health Officer.
He said: “We have been instructed to continue demolition with only one concrete breaker machine and this was immediately put into effect. This does inevitably extend the work time necessary to complete the demolition, but we do hope this will go some way in responding to the understandable concerns of the existing residents.”