Repairs to save listed Fenland windmill from collapse set to start as planners call for urgent work

URGENT work is due to start before Christmas to save Doddington windmill from collapsing.

Planners say the windmill, one of only two listed windmills in Fenland, is in a dangerous state. At a meeting next Wednesday they are asking councillors to approve an Urgent Works Notice.

But windmill owner and parish councillor Arthur Clapham says he has already appointed a builder to carry out work.

The windmill at the back of 61 High Street was listed in 1951 and Fenland District Council’s conservation officer became aware of the building as a Building at Risk through its inclusion on a register.

However, during a site visit in July the windmill was “found to be in a significantly worse condition than expected from photographs taken in 2005-06”.

Officers say the Grade Two listed building has no roof, the three upper floors have collapsed and the heavy internal windmill mechanism, a massive cast iron cog wheel, is poised to fall into the building which could then demolish the structure.

Councillors will be told that the windmill has not been maintained or protected, contrary to the Planning (listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Officers have drawn up a list of work to be completed and are recommending that if Mr Clapham does not comply the council be authorised to carry it out in default.

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Mr Clapham bought the land with the windmill on it during the 1970s and a built a home on the same site.

He said: “When I bought it back in 1975 it was absolutely full of woodworm then. Really there is only the tail left and I think it is more likely to end up as a residence than anything else.

“I have appointed a builder and agreed a price and work will commence before Christmas. The large wheel is going to have to be lifted out by crane.”

The windmill, thought to be around 175 years old, has not had a roof since the 1950s and the four sails were removed after 1940 when it was last in use. Mr Clapham is facing a hefty bill for the work as he has been unable to get it insured.

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