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Windmill Project

The Gransden Windmill is not a Gransdens Society project, but we have a great interest in the mill and are concerned about its future. Therefore it's appropriate to publish details on the Society's website about any developments occurring that affect its future. There was one such development recently, when funding was secured to enable urgent and essential repair work to be undertaken. See below for further details.



GRANSDEN WINDMILL REPAIR PROJECT

NEWS UPDATE FROM CAMBRIDGESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

SEPTEMBER 2015


Gransden Mill is one of the oldest surviving post mills in this country. This makes it a rare survival of technology and industry from the pre-industrial era, and one of a handful of such structures remaining across the country. It is both a Scheduled Monument and a listed building and is on the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register as the structure’s condition has deteriorated over recent years. 


Cambridgeshire County Council has been in discussion with local people to investigate a transfer of ownership to a community group or Trust. Legally, local authorities cannot dispose of scheduled monuments without the consent of the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), who will take advice from Historic England (formerly English Heritage). This may be as a long term lease rather than a full transfer, as we have discovered that it is a lot simpler for everyone for insurance to be arranged through us.


It has been made clear to us that Historic England wanted to see that the mill has a viable and sustainable future before any transfer, so must be repaired to an agreed level beforehand to avoid saddling any new community group with a large liability. We therefore commissioned structural engineers reports, millwrights assessments and an analysis by an expert in ancient timber structures. As a result, there is now a four phase programme of works to address the mill’s structural concerns and undertake much of the restoration work:


        Phase 1 – urgent works to prevent major structural failure

        Phase 2 – less urgent but still critical major works 

        Phase 3 – essential works for the restoration of the structure and fabric

        Phase 4 – works to reinstate machinery and functions


The Council commissioned Phase 1 in order to ensure the immediate survival of the structure, which is why the sails have been removed and the trestle strengthened and reinforced. We are grateful for the local business support received as nearby businesses offered free plant (cranes) and also a storage area to help the works progress.


NEW FUNDING SECURED!


In May 2015 the CCC Historic Environment Team submitted a bid to the FCC Heritage Fund through WREN for the repair of the mill. We were successful in winning £75,000 towards an estimated total cost of just over £115,000. Additional support from Historic England and the County Council means that we can now undertake Phases 2 & 3 of the work programme and return the mill to an attractive, safe, secure and weather-tight condition 

in a suitable state to be transferred to the local community. 


Work will take place throughout 2016/17 and alongside the repairs we will develop a proposal for the Heritage Lottery Fund to make the most of the local and educational value of the mill. This may include the feasibility of bringing it back into occasional use, something we have been advised is by no means impossible. Either way, the sails of this monument to rural life can once again stand proudly over the landscape, and possibly even be able to turn once again.


Cambridgeshire County Council is extremely grateful to WREN and Historic England for their financial and technical support and to The Gransdens Society and Great Gransden and Little Gransden Parish Councils for their continuing commitment and encouragement. 


For more information about WREN’s FCC Heritage Fund, or to check eligibility, please visit www.wren.org.uk or contact Peter Moralee (peter.moralee@wren.org.uk) or Tel: 01379 687 226. 


For information about the mill please contact Quinton Carroll (Quinton.carroll@cambridgeshire.gov.uk) or Tel: 01223 728565, 


or Martin Davies (mdavies854@btinternet.com) or Tel: 01767 677548; Mobile: 07786 514004