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How planning can play its part in preserving our heritage

Having a listed building is a labour of love. Acting as the custodian of a heritage asset designated by law to be preserved in perpetuity may seem an overwhelming task, with a constant list of potentially expensive repair and conservation works, particularly when that building is on your land, but not actually your home.

Today I visited the beautiful Grade II listed Hyde Mill on the River Lea. It is believed that the current owners took over Hyde Mill in the early 1880s. It began as a water mill, though a steam-powered roller plant to supplement water power was installed in May 1893.

The mill is an outstanding example of a nineteenth-century mill and is particularly worthy of note given its owners sympathetic restoration, which has sought to retain it in an ‘as worked’ condition: the waterwheel’s pulley system is in evidence throughout the building, hessian sacks line the walls, iron hooks abound, right down to the former miller’s spectacles, left on the side in readiness for their owner’s return.

In consultation with Historic England, the owners were able to fund the restoration and upkeep of the exterior fabric of the building as part of a larger modern sympathetic development of farming buildings into bed and breakfast accommodation on the site of the mill. Here planning assisted in preserving a fantastic example of our industrial heritage which will continue to tell its powerful story of the development and decline of the milling industry to future generations.

Jenni Thomas, Planning and Development Assistant

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