The Breckland District Council Emergency Centre is located beneath one wing of the Guildhall at East Dereham in Norfolk. The purpose built bunker was incorporated into the new Guildhall which opened in 1992. It is a self contained unit with the only access from the car park at the rear. A wooden door opens onto a flight of stairs with a blast door at the bottom with a pressure valve alongside. Immediately behind the blast door is a second door made of steel bars which opens into an air lock. In an alcove in the air lock there are two bunk beds which have been moved from their original position in the dormitory and are now used as shelves.To the left is another blast door into the standby generator room and straight ahead a third blast door and another pressure valve, opening on to one end of the main east - west spine corridor. The 21kVA Dale generator is still in good order and run regularly, it is dated 1983 suggesting it was bought second hand, there is a large fuel tank behind it. On the right hand side of the room a thin steel door opens into a small filter room with filters and two small fans still in place. Once through the third blast door into the bunker there is a short side corridor on the right giving access to a shower and male and female toilets. Both toilets are identical with a WC, one large hand basin, one small hand basin, a water heater, a hand pump and a very large water tank which takes up over half the room. In the female toilet there is also one Elsan chemical toilet. On the opposite side of the corridor is the ventilation plant room with two Andair ventilation units consisting of fans and a drum filter. The controls for the generator are also located here in a wall mounted cabinet.
Beyond these rooms the corridor opens out into an open plan area with two supporting pillars. To the left was the dormitory, but the bunks have been replaced by shelving and the room is now used for archive storage. There is a small blast door in one wall into a second filter room. To the right of the corridor the SX50 ECN unit stands alongside 24 double lockers which presumably would have been next to 24 bunk beds. There is also another water tank. From this part of the room a door leads into the kitchen which is still retains all its appliances including a Tricity microwave, Baby Belling cooker, Creda cooker, Bravilor coffee maker, Lec fridge, water heater, stainless steel sink and draining board and a large table.
A dividing wall but no door separates off this area from the largest room in the bunker, the Control Room. As with the dormitory, this room has now been given over to archive storage with shelving fitted around the walls in front of the wall boards some with maps still in place. All the original furniture is stacked in the middle of the room. This room was brought back into use as a Control Room in the summer of 2003. A door out of this room leads into the current operational part of the bunker consisting of three rooms, a briefing room, a smaller control room with computers, desks and 1:50,000 maps of the District around the walls. The radio room is still regularly used by Raynet and has three radio transceivers sitting on a bench table, they are an ICOM IC290D, and ICOM IC47E and a Kenwood, all working on the 144 MHz band. There are also several power supplies and an aerial patching board.
Back in the main control room a short section of the spine corridor continues at the far end with a room on either side. The door on the right leads back into the briefing room while that on the left is the Controllers Room with maps of Norfolk and Breckland District on the walls. At the end of the corridor is a short ladder up to a small blast door. Behind this is the 80’ long circular concrete escape tunnel. At the end of this there is a short ladder up to an escape hatch on a grass verge in the car park above.
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford, Keith Ward and Robin Cherry.