Part of Norfolk’s heritage could be yours for £550,000

Denver Mill

Denver Mill - Credit: Archant

It was one of the last working windmills in Norfolk but as previously reported, last year it ground to a halt and now lies disused and for sale for £550,000.

Denver Mill

Denver Mill - Credit: Archant

This building has been photographed so many times by EDP photographers over the years and I felt quite sad looking through some of our images of it, in full glory, with its sails intact.

Standing on the edge of the Fens for almost 200 years, Denver windmill has been a landmark for locals and indeed was once a glorious welcome to visitors coming into the county.

It stood as quite an impressive gateway to Norfolk itself. Anyway, since it closed last year and recently went on the market with Bedfords for a guide price of £550,000, I decided I needed to make the journey to take a look for myself.

It was built for John Porter in 1835 on the site of an earlier postmill, the timbers of which are thought to have been re-used during its construction and in 1865 a steam mill was added and by the 1920s the steam engine had been replaced by a diesel engine.

Denver Mill

Denver Mill - Credit: IAN BURT

In latter years it was passed to Norfolk County Council by deed of gift and then acquired by the Norfolk HIstoric Buildings Trust who restored it to full working order at a cost of more than £1million.

It then opened to the public in 2000 when bread was made which was sold on the premises and the site expanded to include not only a working museum detailing the history and its workings but also a cafe and shop.

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Sadly this closed last year and following an accident, it stands without its sails. The sale has been widely reported including the fact that as part of the transaction, the trust will undertake to implement the repair of the fabric of the tower in spring 2016 to an agreed specification.

It is proposed that funds from the sale of Denver windmill will be used towards the cost of the repairs and possession of the tower will be handed to the buyer once the repairs have been completed.

Denver Mill

Denver Mill - Credit: Archant

The trust will, however, impose a covenant against the windmill and engine room being used for residential purposes and will specify a minimum level of public access to these areas meaning the actual historic tower cannot be, say, converted into residential use like some former windmills. So, this is not an opportunity to convert it but really to retain it as a working mill which comes with an attractive offering of the coffee shop and four residential units in 1.6 acres.

Everything is very well set up to take the business forward but in my opinion it would need a new impetus. The site is just starting to take off as a venue for local events so it needs an entrepreneur who could make it an interesting attraction and perhaps use the venue to promote other events happening in the area.

Or is it that seeing a working mill is just not glamorous enough for today's young generation - does it need an indoor play area or some added extra to entice people to visit? I myself am not entirely sure but what is evident is it is in a picturesque spot and its infrastructure; kitchens and equipment is all there, though over time will gather dust and eventually will need replacing.

But it's part of Norfolk's intrinsic heritage - surely someone can see its potential?

• Denver windmill, Sluice Road, Denver is for sale for a guide price of £550,000 with Bedfords on 01328 730500.

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