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Historic Norfolk mill could be safeguarded by £350,000 council loan

PUBLISHED: 17:06 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 04 December 2017

Sutton Mill two years ago.  

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Sutton Mill two years ago. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2015

One of the tallest windmills in the UK, which is on the ‘at risk’ register, could be safeguarded by a £350,000 council loan.

Sutton Mill in 2015. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Sutton Mill in 2015. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) loan would allow ancient building experts to buy Sutton Mill, near Stalham.

The loan was recommended for approval at the council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday, December 4. A meeting of the Full Council will make the final decision. If agreed, the loan would be repaid over a period of eight years.

The project to buy and refurbish the Grade II* Listed building, which was built in 1789, would also see a heritage centre established at the site, an academy for training millwrights and a workshop.

Nigel Dixon, NNDC’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “The project would safeguard an important heritage building on the Historic England ‘at risk’ register, ensure traditional skills are preserved and create a visitor centre in a part of the district with unrealised tourist potential.

“It has the potential to act as a catalyst to help maintain and support the local tourism offer and small businesses. The economic benefits of this project should be felt in a number of sectors.”

The money is a key part of the funding jigsaw being put together by the mills section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

The National Millwrighting Centre CIC, a not for profit community interest company, has been set up to take it forward.

The project would create the UK’s National Academy for Traditional Milling and Millwrighting, which will train up to five professional and volunteer millwrights at any one time. A commercial millwrighting workshop would also be created to service the mills of East Anglia and beyond.

The new heritage centre would include a commercial working windmill, holiday accommodation, an artisan bakery and artisan bakery school, a shop, café and workshops.

Jonathan Cook, director of the CIC and chairman of the SPAB mills section, said: “Our vision for the project is to create a thriving, financially self-supporting training academy that secures the traditional craft skills required to repair, maintain and run traditional wind and watermills for the future.”

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