Tide Mill restoration plans redrawn

AMBITIOUS plans to restore one of Suffolk's most famous iconic symbols are being redrawn after the Heritage Lottery Fund refused a �1million grant application.

Richard Smith

AMBITIOUS plans to restore one of Suffolk's most famous iconic symbols are being redrawn after the Heritage Lottery Fund refused a �1million grant application.

Trustees of the Woodbridge Tide Mill are preparing a new grant application with a new focus to include memories of people associated with the mill.

They were disappointed with the grant refusal in which the lottery fund said greater attention needed to be paid to the ''learning proposals'' and the overall costs were high compared with the benefits for the public.


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The Tide Mill application lost out to a �1m award for the Real Lives Project at Ickworth House which will tell the true story of the everyday ''upstairs-downstairs'' domestic life of a working country house and estate.

Fred Reynolds, project administrator for the Tide Mill, said the Heritage Lottery Fund had made a decision between the two applications and the Tide Mill's bid failed because it did not feature a community-based project.

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Mr Reynolds said yesterday: ''In the middle of last year the lottery had a directive from the Government which does not mention conservation at all, it is all about learning opportunities for youngsters.

''Conservation, in the sense of preserving a building, has taken second place to heritage interest in the lives of people who lived over 50 years ago.

''We were told we had not done enough with the activities of young people and we needed to get people involved in the mill.

''We want to recall how a miller spent his day and get people involved in the software heritage of the building, rather than the hardware heritage.''

Stories will be told on film and shown to the thousands of people who visit the Mill annually and other plans include relaunching the mill's website with ''virtual tours.''

The Trust is scaling back on the overall project and the total cost is now forecast at about �600,000, with a new application being made this year for �500,000.

However, vital work to safeguard the mill and stop the undermining of the building by tidal erosion will still take place otherwise the mill will fall into the River Deben.

Fire safety measures are being modified and sprinklers will not be installed. Instead, sensors will be fitted which connect to the fire service and they will be alerted if heat or smoke is present.

Corn will be ground to make wholemeal flour and a 42-inch video display on an interior wall will allow visitors to watch the grinding process.

Anyone with memories about life at the mill is asked to contact Bob Spillett on 01394 385295.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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