Conversion in the pipeline for mill

PUBLISHED: 14:43 01 February 2007 | UPDATED: 21:32 29 May 2010

ONE of the remaining 18th century water mills is under threat from being developed into a five-bed barn- style conversion . Strutt and Parker developers submitted an application to Uttlesford District Council on behalf of Mr and Mrs Collinson on August 9

ONE of the remaining 18th century water mills is under threat from being developed into a 'five-bed barn- style conversion'.

Strutt and Parker developers submitted an application to Uttlesford District Council on behalf of Mr and Mrs Collinson on August 9, 2006 to demolish the outbuildings at Tilty water mill and erect a five-bedroom building to the water mill in an L-shape.

The mill's machinery would be screened off on the ground floor and the first floor would house a games room and living area.

Darren Stone, Great Easton resident and historian said: "There is strong local feeling against the proposed conversion. More than 125 residents have signed the petition. It may not sound like many but, for our small community, it represents a good percentage."

He points to Uttlesford's recent record on giving planning permission for the conversion of other, similar, buildings saying that recently developers were given permission to convert two water mills in Stebbing into houses.

"The initial signs didn't look good but there's a lot of support to restore the mill," he said.

The mill is a grade two star listed building which puts it in the top four per cent of most precious listed buildings.

A mill has been documented on the site for more than

800 years.

The importance of the building is recognised by several historical societies including the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

Douglas Kent, technical director for SPAB, said: "This mill still has all of its machinery intact and that is integral to it.

"It is also on the Uttlesford Buildings at Risk list as a building of historical interest. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to count for much with some people."

The nearest similar mill

that has been restored back to its former glory is the Houghton Watermill near Huntington, owned and run by the National Trust.

"If we aren't careful," said Mr Kent, "we will lose all the traditional buildings that give this area so much of its character."

A decision on the mill's future will be made by Uttlesford District Council's planning committee on either February 21 or March 14.

Martin Ranner, case officer at UDC said: "There have been a lot of objections to this scheme and conflicting submissions from consultation bodies."

English Heritage supports the scheme with conditions. It's keen for the mill's workings to remain in-situ and for the work to be done in a sympathetic way.

The UDC conservation officer is also in favour of the application.

But there have been objections because the application includes the relocation of a footpath.

"All of this," explains Mr Ranner, "has to be considered and presented to the planning committee and that is what I am in the process of doing."

- WHAT do you think? E-mail the newsdesk at the Dunmow Broadcast at editor@dunmow-broadcast.co.uk

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