The Bicester Advertiser - 05 February 2015
Whoever snaps up this former Second World War sub-station is set for a blast of a time.
The 1940s structure on the former RAF base at Caversfield, near Bicester, has been transformed into a luxury, three-bedroom pad.
But the renovation was no easy job for developers City & Country.
A team of restoration experts had to hack through the blast-proof walls to add bigger windows and doors.
About 200 tonnes of shingle had to be scooped out by hand from the two-metre thick concrete-and-gravel roof, and a steel frame was fitted to make a second storey.
The finished property, which boasts three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study, an open-plan kitchen and dining room, terrace and walled garden, is on the market for £525,000.
City and Country design and planning director Simon Vernon-Harcourt said: “It’s a very unusual building. Imagine you have a box and then there is another wall around that and that wall is half a metre thick.
The ceiling was a two-metre-thick concrete and gravel sandwich to protect from bomb blasts, because it was vital that if the sub-station was hit during the war the RAF base would still have electricity.”
The construction of the substation is similar to a decontaminated Second World War bunker on the same site, converted into two homes which sold for £440,000 each last year.
Mr Vernon-Harcourt said: “It was a working substation when we took it over and still had transformers inside, which had to be moved to another substation.
It was fairly run-down, with very tall walls and old metal windows which had to be replaced because they were rusty.”
The team also chopped the top off the blast ceiling and replaced it with a new atrium-style roof.
He added: “It looks as though the roof is floating above you, so it really works well. I have never tackled anything like it before and would say it’s one of the most challenging design puzzles we have had to solve. I haven’t heard of any others like it around the country.”
Garden Quarter site manager Anthony Byrne said: “It works really well as a family home but is really different and will appeal to anyone who wants to live somewhere that is slightly quirky.”
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