BUILDERS have dug up a wartime bomb shelter as redevelopment work on a college “storms ahead”.

Workmen at Orpington College discovered the shelter as they cleared the way for a £26million rebuild of the town centre site, including a new hi-tech five storey block.

The Anderson bomb shelter would have helped protect residents in Orpington from German bombing raids during the Second World War.

College principal Simon Norton says that the bunker would have been buried after the Walnuts Shopping Centre was built.

He said: “Finding the shelter was a bit of shock because when the original survey was done they didn’t pick it up because it was so deep in the ground.

“We think when they built the Walnuts Shopping Centre they thought ‘what do we do? Break it up or bury it deeper?’”

“The waste spill from the Walnuts probably got pushed on top of it and it was just buried deeper.”

He added: “Workman had to break it up and drill it out, it is a relic from the past.”

The plans for the college will see its 11-storey tower block revamped while the sports hall will get a new roof and other major improvements.

The college is also set to merge with Bromley College of Further and Higher Education as part of a larger £50million project.

The work on Orpington College, which will eventually cater for 12,000 students, is set to be completed by 2010.

Mr Norton hopes the project will breath new life into Orpington town centre.

He added: “Work has been storming ahead and is slightly ahead of schedule.

“We have demolished the horrible old timber cabins and built a set of temporary classrooms that are of high quality.

“Its a major undertaking and hugely important.

“We want students to have the absolute best, that's what this £26million is all about.”

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