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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 15:04 GMT
Residents opposed to bunker plans
Drakelow Tunnels, near Wolverley, Worcs
The tunnels were built during World War II
A community has vowed to fight a scheme to turn a former nuclear bunker into an underground rehabilitation centre for ex-offenders and homeless people.

Charity Jericho, based in Birmingham, wants to build the centre using four miles of the Drakelow Tunnels in Wolverley, near Kidderminster, Worcs.

Up to 400 jobs could be created as a result and Jericho said it was committed to the site.

But those opposed to the scheme said it was unsuitable for the area.

The Drakelow Tunnels were built during World War II to house industrial works in case Birmingham was attacked.

They were later designated as the West Midlands seat of regional government in the event of a nuclear attack, but decommissioned and later opened for the public to view.

'No danger'

Jericho now wants to use them for its new centre.

The organisation's Richard Beard said: "We think we can make a positive difference to the site and we can achieve social goals in doing so."

Local resident Nigel Addison said: "What they are proposing is a whole new community about four times the size of the existing community, where ex-offenders, homeless people, and other disadvantaged persons can be rehabilitated in the pleasure of the countryside.

"Sorry, Jericho, but as much as I admire your work and ethos, you are wrong to try and place it here in Wolverley."

Another resident added: "We all came out here for a nice quiet retirement and all of a sudden we're going to get this on our doorstep."

But Mr Beard said residents did not need to worry.

"We can reassure the people of Drakelow and Wolverley we will take every measure to ensure there is absolutely no danger at all and no cause for concern," he said.

The plans have been sent to Wyre Forest District Council.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the residents as they gather to protest
BBC Midlands Today's Andy Newman



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