The St albans City and District Council Emergency Centre is located in the basement of the Council Offices in the city centre. This is a relatively recent bunker constructed when the new Civic Centre was built in 1989 and it replaced an earlier emergency centre in the basement of the magistrates court.
The bunker, which cost £631,000 to build (of which the Government gave a grant of just £30,000) takes up part of the basement of the civic offices and is still in regular use both as an emergency centre and when not required for this purpose the large control room can be partitioned off into three committee rooms. Although only recently built, all the ventilation and filtration plant and the standby generator have already been stripped out and the rooms put to other uses. The ventilation plant room, which also contained the chemical toilets and emergency escape shaft now houses the council’s CCTV control centre.
After descending the lift to the basement there is a heavy blast door still in place which is the main entry point into the ‘bunker’ from a long corridor. The first room is a store which still contains some of the original ventilation ducting. The corridor then turns through 90 degrees past one door into the control room and into the canteen which would also have doubled up as the dormitory. The canteen is still in daily use as is the kitchen beyond which still contains all its original fittings.
On the far side of the canteen a door leads into the small communications room which contains a number of transceivers installed by Raynet and the SX50 ECN (Emergency Communications Network) unit. At the far end of the canteen another door leads to a corridor running along the rear of the bunker with another door into the control room and two doors on the opposite side into the former ventilation plant room and stand-by generator room. At the end of this corridor is a second blast door leading to the stairs and emergency exit. The corridor then turns through 90 degrees again with two further doors into the control room and a third blast door back into the main basement spine corridor. When first installed the three blast doors alone which are steel frames with mesh and concrete filling cost £11,890.