The antique machinery will be removed from Hewson’s Mill in Barton-upon-Humber, and it will be converted into accommodation before it falls down. The developer says it would be the last chance to save the mill tower.
However, an expert warned the process would effectively be playing “hook a duck” with antique machinery.The change has been approved along with permission for eight other dwellings built nearby after the decision by North Lincolnshire Council’s planning committee.
Garry Whall of Keigar Homes told the committee: “This is an unsteady, dangerous, unsafe derelict mill. It hasn’t had a roof for 35 years. Everything that can be saved has been saved.
“An engineer told us ‘it is about to collapse like a pack of cards’. This application was submitted nearly two years ago, and we have run around in circles to resolve all concerns.
"This is a chance to save the mill before it falls down. Barton Town Council supports this application as it would save the structure of the mill, which no one else wants to take on.
“The change would help to make Barton the tourism capital of the area. It will save this building from turning into a pile of bricks and rubble, and bring it back to life for many years to come.”
However, an expert in historic windmills from Barton Civic Society said the method of removing antique machinery was completely unsuitable.
“I examined this mill a few years ago, and very strongly object to the plans,” she said.
“Windmills get treated as buildings, rather than machinery. You wouldn’t rip the workings out of Stephenson’s Rocket and call it preservation. If it must be approved, I ask that you change condition which calls for removing the machinery from above.
“This would effectively be playing hook a duck with fragile machinery using a crane.”
Councillor Richard Hannigan admitted the application was a “conundrum.”
He said: “It is very important to preserve our heritage, but it is also critical to make buildings fit for modern use.”
The committee eventually passed the application unanimously, rejecting the call to change the method of removing the machinery.
They also ignored Keigar Homes’ request for work to be permitted to start half an hour earlier each day.