A bitter row has broken out over the future of some historic tunnels following fears they could be used to re-train ex-offenders and former drug addicts.
Drakelow Tunnels near Kidderminster, Worcester-shire, which were used for the manufacture of aeroplane engines during the Second World War, could be developed into a complex to house and train former prisoners, the long-term unemployed and people with mild mental health problems.
The plans put forward by a Birmingham-based charity - Jericho Community Project - are being bitterly opposed by residents.
The Drakelow Preservation Trust, has been launched to fight the plans and raise money in the hope it can buy and preserve the site as a heritage centre.
The tunnels have historic value having been used in the war and also chosen as the regional seat of Government in the event of a nuclear strike during the Cold War.
They were created in the 1940s but have remained empty for decades.
Mick Freer, chairman of the Drakelow Preservation Trust, said although the current proposal was to convert only one of the eight tunnels a masterplan initially submitted to Wyre Forest District Council outlined converting all of them.
He said: "The problem is that the area is green belt, it has landscape protection, it has an ancient monument and is a wildlife site.
"One problem that is causing concern is that a significant proportion of the people staying there will have criminal records and given the re-offending rates this has a potential to put a burden of crime in the isolated communities which aren't equipped for it. The residents are scared stiff."
Richard Beard, deputy chief executive of Jericho Community Business, owned by the Jericho Community Trust, said he hoped to create an environmentally-friendly training centre for 30 students, some of who would be ex-offenders, the homeless and disabled.
They would be taught construction skills, such as bricklaying and carpentry, as well as basic life skills.
Mr Beard is listed as a contractor for Faber Maunsell, the engineers involved in the project.
But he said he had left the company 18 months ago and had since worked as a consultant for the firm on four occasions.
"I am no longer employed by Faber Maunsell but I did work for them for 17 years," he said.
He added the training centre, designed by some of the team who worked on Corn-wall's Eden Project, would apply green strategies, such as water harvesting, biomass energy generation and organic food production.
"We have come up with clever designs that will enhance the area rather than detract from it.
"The site is currently derelict and has been since the 1980s and the proposal we have come up with is extremely discreet," he said.
Former prisoners and drug users would make up only a small percentage of the training group, Mr Beard said.
"The majority are just normal people who have disadvantages of some form or another.
"I can understand the concerns of the local community but I really don't think they have anything to worry about," he added.
Wyre Forest Council said the application had been due to be discussed on March 7 but had now been deferred. ..SUPL: