Fears village will become “a circus like North Norfolk” under National Trust plan for iconic mill

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 25 May 2018

Norfolk from the air during the autumn sunshine. Horsey Mill.

Norfolk from the air during the autumn sunshine. Horsey Mill. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Famous for its seals and sails, Horsey has long been a magnet for day trippers.

Villagers are angry about the National Trust's plans for a Villagers are angry about the National Trust's plans for a "visitor welcome and office solution" at Horsey Photo: Liz Coates

But National Trust plans to make more of its restored roadside mill have run into opposition.

Residents are worried about the number of visitors the conservation charity is looking to attract, saying too many will spoil the spot’s rustic charm, clogging roads, and affecting wildlife.

Peter Dixon, chairman of Horsey Parish Council, tagged a new office and ‘visitor welcome’ building on the site as an “eyesore” and said he and others would fight to make sure it didn’t become permanent when its three year permission was up.

He said: “People come to Horsey because it’s a beautiful area of outstanding natural beauty and we do not want it destroyed and made into a circus like North Norfolk.

A temporary A temporary "visitor welcome and office solution" at Horsey has been tagged an "eyesore" and "a big black blob" by villagers Photo: Liz Coates

“We are more than happy for people to look at the mill but there is a saturation point and we have reached it. We do not want an eyesore office block here all the time.”

The landmark windpump is being restored to working order and has a new cap and sails.

But residents fear the low-key attraction will become a magnet for coach trips and school parties.

Planning documents in support of the new building say the aim is to “bring the experience of a traditional windpump alive for our visitors” and show the trust is expecting initial numbers of 20,000 per year.

Victoria Egan, National Trust interim general manager for the Norfolk Coast, said: “We’re currently undertaking a significant restoration project to get Horsey Windpump’s sails turning for the first time in 
75 years, bringing this magnificent icon of the Norfolk skyline back to life.

“As part of our work to welcome visitors and provide a space for our team to work, a temporary building has been erected on site, which we were granted planning permission for in December 2017. We are always keen to hear the views of people living locally and whilst this temporary building is in place over the next three years, we’ll be looking to involve the local community to find a permanent solution for the future.”

Churchwarden Jenny Downes said villagers had a special affection for the mill and its place in the community.

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