Land at historic Aylsham mill could be split in two


Aylsham Mill.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An 11-year row over land next to Aylsham watermill could end soon as a possible solution to split the area is considered.

Mill owners and Aylsham Town Council have been at odds over the site since 2004, with disagreement over how the site at Mill Row should be used.

The council argues it should be for the public's enjoyment with access to the River Bure, while mill owner Jon Spalding has fenced off the land to help restoration work, maintaining it belongs to the mill.

Broadland District Council's cabinet yesterday opted not to agree a compulsory purchase order (CPO) yet asked for the option of dividing the land between both parties, with a CPO, to be explored.

But according to council papers, there is a question mark over who the landowner actually is. Although the owner of the mill claims to own it, the papers say it is not included within the registered title to the 19th century building.

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The meeting heard the town council intends to approach Mr Spalding after any compulsory purchase order is made to see if an agreement could be reached on splitting the land, with a small proportion being reserved for use in connection with the mill.

Broadland's cabinet members felt they could avoid getting caught up in the wrangle by potentially dividing the land before any order is made.

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David Harrison, town, district and county councillor, said that option could bring the saga to a conclusion for the good of the area.

He said: 'For the last 10 years people have had no access to the river, where as for the previous 300 years they have had unrestricted access.

'It should be the jewel in the crown of Aylsham and I hope it can be resolved. Somewhere along the line something has got to give. So if we get a purchase of 50pc, it is probably better as it resolves the situation.'

The item will return to the cabinet meeting later this month. The owner did not wish to comment.

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