Iconic windmill sold for �1 to trust

AN iconic south Cambs windmill has been safeguarded after being sold to a trust for �1.

The Great Chishill windmill, which has stood in the village since 1819, faced an uncertain future after Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) made budget-tightening arrangements and deemed it surplus to requirements.

But the chairman of the Great Chishill Windmill Trust, set up by concerned villagers, last week shook hands on the sale, after the parish council and South Cambridgeshire District Council decided not take the mill on.

James Brearley said: “It is a Grade II* listed building and they offered it to the district council and then they offered it to the parish council who did a questionnaire.

“The villagers said, as much as they want to take on the maintenance of the windmill, it would a burden on the precept.

“When I heard about it I said I would set up a trust and register with the Charity Commission and do everything possible. I spoke to the council and they said yes.

“Just over a week ago we did the handshake on it and we are just waiting for the legal documents to go through.”

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A five-year �180,000 refurbishment plan will now be launched hopefully making use of grants from English Heritage and the Lottery Fund.

The open tressel post mill, where the whole mill can rotate, is extremely rare and may be the only one in the country that can be restored back to working order, with plans to produce flour for bread currently being considered.

“There are only about five of these left in the country and because it has been left as it was this is the only one in the country that can be restored into working order,” said Mr Brearley

“The anoraks want to get it working and the people of Great Chishill want it to look good for the future,” he added.

The county council said: “We have been working with the parish council to ensure that ownership of this Grade II* listed building remains with the local community. The mill requires careful restoration works due to its listed status, and was valued independently at �1. The local community have formed the Great Chishill Windmill Trust who plan to work with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to preserve this historic landmark for the benefit of future generations.”