Restoration plans for Sibsey windmill are welcomed

Ian Ansell (Sibsey Trader Mill Local Manager), Matt Warman MP, Alex Sydney (Head of Investment and Involvement, English Heritage) and Tim Cockerill (Free Sites Partnership Manager, East of England, English Heritage)
Ian Ansell (Sibsey Trader Mill Local Manager), Matt Warman MP, Alex Sydney (Head of Investment and Involvement, English Heritage) and Tim Cockerill (Free Sites Partnership Manager, East of England, English Heritage)

An iconic windmill at Sibsey is to be fully restored after it was badly damaged by wind earlier this year, English Heritage has pledged.

The organisation has said it is committed to restoring Sibsey Trader Windmill, which has not operated as a windmill since the damage in January.

The news was announced after a meeting between the group and Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman recently.

He said he was happy that English Heritage recognised the “urgent need for repairs” on the Grade 1 listed monument.

The mill was one of the few working windmills remaining in the country before the damage happened.

Since then, it has been open for visitors to see the machinery in the towers and visit the tea room, but the damaged sails have been taken down.

It has continued to produce its range of organic flour using another windmill further to the north.

Mr Warman said he had made the case for the urgent restoration of the ‘unique’ mill at his meeting with English Heritage.

He said: “I am relieved they have recognised the urgent need for repair and renovation work on this Grade 1 listed monument and will be looking to appoint contractors to carry out the work as soon as possible.

“I have visited the mill, the only working one of its kind in the country, several times, and to see it in its present sorry state without its sails and unable to mill the flour it was designed for is a very visual reminder of the need for protection of our great industrial heritage.”

Alex Sydney, head of investment and involvement for English Heritage confirmed the work is now a high priority.

He said: “I am very aware of the concern both locally and more widely around the future of this wonderful working building.

“English Heritage is totally committed to returning the mill to its rightful place as one of only a small number of fully working windmills in the country and is also committed to doing this as quickly as possible.

“In order to achieve this aim, we will almost certainly need to replace the windmill cap and conserve the sails and fantail. We will ensure that this project is carried out thoroughly and we will be undertaking a tender involving our fantastic local mill manager Ian Ansell.

“This will ensure that we appoint millwrights with the necessary expertise in order to restore the mill to its full glory.”

English Heritage say the local community will have a role to play in the restoration project and it will commission interpretation boards and information leaflets explaining the work being undertaken.

Mr Warman said: “I know the windmill is held dear by the village of Sibsey and beyond, and I will work with English Heritage to ensure this project is delivered as quickly as possible.

“I will be writing to villagers, as well as all those who took the time to contact me about this issue, to update them on progress as the project progresses.

“In the meantime, I would urge everyone to support the windmill by continuing to visit. I will be dropping in as the project progresses and look forward to seeing the striking silhouette of Sibsey mill with its six sails restored to the local landscape.”.