Decision day beckons for one of country’s last working windmills

Skidby windmill
Skidby windmill
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Decision day is approaching on the future of the last council-owned and run working windmill in the country.

Skidby Mill was commercially operated into the 1960s, but was sold to the local council for £1 in 1969.

Since 1974 the grade two star listed building and well-loved landmark has been a working museum. However it stopped grinding flour last September due to a technical fault.

Last November East Riding Council invited expressions of interest from outside bodies to ensure the building - which costs over £100,000 a year to run - has a viable future. The council has stressed it will not necessarily sell the windmill and everything depends on the quality of the bids. A report is expected to go to the council’s Cabinet next month.

Coun Geraldine Mathieson, a voluntary miller at Wrawby windmill and vice chairman of the Lincolnshire Windmills Group, said locals felt “enormous affection” for the mill and urged the council to proceed with “great caution.”

She understood there had been three expressions of interest. She said: “It is the last local authority-owned and run windmill in the country - all the others have been farmed off to preservation trusts or private tenants.” Coun Mathieson said she’d like to see it in the hands of a trust, whose volunteers could provide free labour. She said the windmill had “great potential” but warned: “No one makes money on them.”

The council said in the event of a changeover the five employees would transfer across with terms and conditions protected. Originally built in 1821, the mill was further extended to its current five stories in 1870.