The Horsham District Council Emergency Centre (Also the the West Sussex County Standby) located in the basement of a 1984 brick council block opposite the Town Hall. It was built with the aid of an 80% Home Office grant and like its neighbour at Crawley is still fully operational holding regular exercises; it is also used by council staff for IT training for. A flight of steps from the covered car park gives access to a heavy steel and concrete blast door beyond which is a second blast door forming an airlock. This is described on the official plan as a decontamination area but there is no shower. A third heavy blast door is located within the airlock giving access to the standby generator which has only a few hours on the clock. At the rear of the room a small blast door on the wall gives access to a small filter room.
Beyond the airlock is a very short corridor with yet another blast door at the far end, this is one of two emergency exits back into the underground car park. On the left hand side of the corridor are two rooms, the former dormitory now stripped and used for storage and the ventilation plant room with one pump and filter unit and yet another small blast door in the rear wall leading to another small filter room.
On the other side of the corridor a door leads into the control room with tables, chairs, audio visual equipment and wall maps and charts. To make the room seem more ‘homely’, all the maps are covered by patterned curtains as are the corridors and stairs hiding the plain white walls. Four rooms are accessed from the control room, on the far side a small room (originally the first aid room) houses the SX50 ECN unit and the second emergency exit into the underground car park through a five foot high blast door.
Other rooms are the ‘L’ shaped unisex toilet, small but functional kitchen, controllers room and the communications room with acoustic booths along two walls. Two licensed amateur radio operators help provide the emergency communications network and as back up CB radio is used with repeater stations giving a range almost to the south coast. When fully manned up to 22 people might be in the bunker.
Those taking part in the visit were Nick Catford, Keith Ward and Bob Jenner.