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YouTube star and ‘shed dweller’ James Dooley wants to build ‘perfect’ underground workshop, after receiving planning permission to construct bomb shelter in his garden





A self proclaimed ‘shed dweller’ is looking forward to getting back to work - after being granted permission to build an underground bomb shelter in his garden.

While the planet’s mega-rich from celebrities Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon bigwig Jeff Bezos have been hitting headlines in recent months for constructing doomsday bunkers to protect themselves from potential global cataclysms, James Dooley’s plans are a little more down to earth.

“I just want to have the most beautiful, perfect workshop ever,” said the 40-year-old, who has more than 36,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel where he documents the project and showcases his eyecatching inventions.

After four years of labour, work on the ‘underground lair’ in Quadring had to be put on hold as he awaited retrospective planning permission.

But after his application for a bomb shelter was given the green light by South Holland District Council, James - who made the news in 2016 after mooting the idea of sailing the Channel on a bouncy castle - is delighted to be able to get cracking on his subterranean den once again.

“I wanted a clean room,” said James - a former aircraft engineer who now works in a Spalding factory- explaining his reason for starting the project.

James Dooley has been given the all clear to continue with his garden 'bomb shelter'
James Dooley has been given the all clear to continue with his garden 'bomb shelter'

“I do a bit of leather work with sewing machines, and work with electronics.

“In my current shed I do everything from masonry to metalwork, woodwork. The processes don’t all go together.

“You don’t try to rebuild an engine in the same place you do metalwork as you get cross contamination. My goal is to have everything separate.

Plans showing how the Quadring bomb shelter will take shape
Plans showing how the Quadring bomb shelter will take shape

“It’s par for the course. I’ve always made stuff. I suppose I associate with other shed dwellers like myself.”

When completed, the subterranean den will include two rooms - both measuring 6m by 2.4m - at the base of a 7.5m deep and 1.2m wide entrance shaft.

Above ground James has already constructed 1.8m-high pillars and a 400mm steel structure supporting winch gear to aid entry to the bunker at the Town Dam Drove site.

A peek down the shaft
A peek down the shaft

The concrete pillars were created by a glass fibre mould he made himself, and the eventual plan is to replace the current winch with one from a Coles Crane, powered by a diesel engine

“Hopefully I can rig it so I can press the remote and it’ll fire the engine up and run the hydraulic winch up and down,” said James, whose Turbo Conquering Mega Eagle YouTube channel includes an array of posts detailing his amazing creations, including a slingshot pistol, £20 canoe and a ball mill made from a fire extinguisher and office fan.

“Then I can actually have a lift into my underground lair. That’s the intention.

James Dooley's Turbo Conquering Mega Eagle YouTube channel has more than 36,0000 subscribers
James Dooley's Turbo Conquering Mega Eagle YouTube channel has more than 36,0000 subscribers

“The building on top is classic railway workshop-style structure. I’m going to do it concrete with a slate roof.

“Because we’re visible from so many fields and far away, the council wanted it to be more traditional. The aesthetic is more of a pump house aesthetic.”

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As James removed the covering of the shaft to reveal hole into the earth, Jenny the cat carelessly jumped over the sheer drop, unaware it had been built using a technique inspired by one of history’s most lauded engineers.

James Dooley is working on his subterranean workshop in Quadring
James Dooley is working on his subterranean workshop in Quadring

“I’m following Brunel’s original method of sinking a shaft into soft soil, which is how he sunk the Thames Tunnel shaft,” James explained.

"You put a ring in the ground and dig inside that ring until it starts sliding down and then you put another one on top.

“Brunel used a lot of Irishmen and bricks. I used concrete manhole rings. I’ve gone down about 30ft so its quite deep.”

While those daring plans to cross the Channel on a bouncy castle in a bid to fundraise for the Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centre sadly never came to pass due to the inability to find a willing insurer, red tape hasn’t put paid to his workshop.

“The council have been ever so patient with me and held my hand a little. It was probably obvious to them I’d never applied for planning permission before,” added James, who has been building a dump truck as he awaited the all clear.

Find out about planning applications that affect you at the Public Notice Portal.

“It was quite an unusual request, but I’m quite happy to have dealt with the people I’ve dealt with. I can’t give them enough praise - lovely people.”

When proposing the plans be passed, South Holland District Council planning officer’s report read: “This is a partially retrospective householder application… for a bomb shelter with a covered access shaft.

“The proposal seeks to convert an existing well into an access shaft with two rooms at the base.

“Above the access point an entrance shaft shed will be sited.

“Most importantly this is not a cut and fill operation, rather than excavating the entire footprint of the underground structure, the structure will be built underground without disturbing the ground.”



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