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Repairs to ancient mill planned

PUBLISHED: 09:07 02 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 12 July 2010

Billingford Mill.

Billingford Mill.

Repairs are planned to one of Norfolk's historic windmills so it can be returned to full working order once more.

Billingford Mill, near Diss, was given a new lease of life in 1999 when major restoration was carried out as part of a European project - having fallen into disuse 50 years earlier when it stopped producing flour.

Repairs are planned to one of Norfolk's historic windmills so that it can be returned to full working order.

Billingford Mill, near Diss, was given a new lease of life in 1999 when major restoration was carried out as part of a European project - having fallen into disuse 50 years earlier when it stopped producing flour.

Built in 1860, it had been the last windmill still operating in Norfolk on a commercial basis, and was gifted to the county council in 1965.

Now the windmill has stopped turning again because all four sails have been damaged by rot.

Norfolk Windmills Trust, which looks after the redbrick tower mill, is seeking listed building consent to remove the sails, repair and repaint them with white linseed paint.

The sails will be taken down and sent for repair to a workshop at either Oby or Ludham.

Michael Knights, the county's mills adviser, said: "Rot is a constant problem for all mills and there is a bit more rot at Billingford than we would like, and it is easier to remove the sails and take them away from the site.

"People can still visit," he added, "and we are hoping to get the repairs done in time for the summer, but obviously we are in the hands of the millwright."

Billingford Mill was at the centre of long-running wrangle involving former mill "custodian" Linda Joslin who was "locked out of the building" in 2002, and subsequently given notice to quit her neighbouring cottage.

Mill volunteers now hold a series of open days during the summer months, and also give conducted tours by arrangement.

The application to carry out the repairs has been submitted to South Norfolk Council.

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