Winchester City Mill faces closure after extent of flood damage revealed
For the latest research shows that one of Winchester's most treasured historic buildings is under serious threat in the wake of flood damage.
Winchester City Mill, is the oldest working watermill in Britain and dates back more than a 1000 years.
But now campaigners say the future of the building which has stood in the centre of the Hampshire city since Saxon times, is in jeopardy because of flood damage.
The Hampshire Chronicle reports that although the damage, which was to the basement part of the building, occurred during the heavy floods of 2014, it was only six months later that the true extent of the devastation was discovered.
It was not apparent until six months later how bad it actually was
Ric Weeks – Winchester City Mill
Now a campaign is underway to save it from potential closure, and the National Trust who own the building say they need £125,000 by June this year to secure the mill's immediate future as a visitor attraction and working corn mill.
Serious structural problems were revealed when inspections were carried out, including severe deterioration of the beams and joists.
Emergency propping has now been installed to provide support to the building.
The mill is the oldest working watermill in Britain and dates back more than a 1000 years
The damage to the basement part of the building occurred during the heavy floods of 2014
Property manager at Winchester City Mill, Ric Weeks,34, from Alresford said the flooding came as the attraction had been enjoying a surge in visitor numbers.
Since the machinery was restored in 2004 and it became a working flour mill again, the number of visitors flocking to the building has grown from 17,000 people to more than 40,000.
However, Mr Weeks warned if the campaign fails, then there is a real risk of closure.
'The flooding came as the attraction had been enjoying a surge in visitor numbers', says Ric Weeks
Mr Weeks told the Hampshire Chronicle: “I was the manager when the flood happened, most of the damage was visual, this came as a massive surprise and shock afterwards as it was not apparent until six months later how bad it actually was.
“There have been a whole series of surveys that have now given us the results to know what we are dealing with and come up with a price to fix it.
"If we do not meet the target there is a risk we will have to close the property until funding can be found within the region, and that's why we are having the fundraising campaign to keep the property open to the public and for the public to be involved in it.
Tue, August 2, 2016
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"It is a very real risk and it would be a loss to Winchester if it were to close.
"I think this is an opportunity for people to really help save a unique Winchester attraction and to ensure its future for future generations to enjoy.”
Over the coming months there will be a number of events to raise money.