Heritage mill in crisis after cold sparks devastating flood

A BURST pipe and water damage could scupper plans to save a piece of local heritage which residents have been fighting to get back to full working order by the start of the next tourist season.

Sub-zero temperatures have caused a burst pipe at Burgh Le Marsh Windmill, which has drowned out its cafe and toilet facilities and left it hanging in the balance between being saved and being written off forever.

Friends treasurer and secretary Adrian Langley said if the damage is not put right before Easter then the Mill’s chances of ever being operational again will be over and it will finished as a heritage attraction.

He said : “We are optimistic that we can sort the mess out before February but if we don’t then the outlook is bleak. If it is not put right by Easter then it will never be put right.”

Mr Langley said the community has rallied around to help but the owner of the Mill, Lincolnshire County Council, has other priorities as the weather begins to bite deep and funding is tight during an era of public service cutbacks.

He said :“The Mill is not heated but we turned off two stop cocks. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that there was third which burst. The pipe comes in at ground level, goes up into the gallery of the Mill and the water sprayed out there and then dropped into the shop. It was noticed by a lady who lives near the mill. She saw water coming down the walls and reported it to our curator John Clarke.

“We contacted the council but it has limited funds and has prioritised schools with burst pipes and other weather related problems although we hope it will be able to give us some support when it is able.”

Burgh Le Marsh Windmill’s sails stopped working and the Friends have been trying to raise £80,000 to get them back in working order.

A £1000 start off fund from voluntary donations, and sales of cakes and shop goods will be be used to fund repairs to the water damage.

Local people have helped including James Dixon who has a car valeting service.

He pumped out six gallons of water and now a dehumidifier is working to dry the premises out.

The Friends of Burgh Le Marsh Windmill will be having a meeting with the Burgh Heritage Group to discuss a merger and an application for charitable status, which will give the group access to funding such as the Lottery and improve it’s chances of ensuring the Mill stays as an active part of the community. Meanwhile, it’s popular Boxing Day event has been cancelled but work is being done to get the Mill in good order leaves residents with hope that the event can be rescheduled for January or February in a year that could secure the Mill’s future.