Mill row nears settlement

A RUMBLING row over a £63,000 repair bill to a historic mill has finally been settled.Sproughton Mill owner Stephen Jones has been battling with Babergh District Council since they carried out repair work to the Grade II listed building at a cost of £63,591.

A RUMBLING row over a £63,000 repair bill to a historic mill has finally been settled.

Sproughton Mill owner Stephen Jones has been battling with Babergh District Council since they carried out repair work to the Grade II listed building at a cost of £63,591.96 in 1996.

Mr Jones, 40, who was declared bankrupt in December 2002, claimed the repairs were "bodged" and "unnecessary," but officials at Babergh insist they were vital to secure the building.

But an investigation by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has found that the work to prevent the collapse of the building was necessary and was reasonable and did not involve any unnecessary costs.


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Mr Jones bought the building in 1995 with the intention of restoring it. But when there was little progress the council served an urgent repairs notice and stepped in to do the repairs itself a year later.

By 1999 the council had still not recovered the repair cost so took Mr Jones to court. He was ordered to pay the council £20,000 but appealed against the decision to the Secretary of State.

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After the result of the investigation a council spokesman said: "We are pleased that the DCMS recognised the correctness of Babergh's actions in trying to preserve Sproughton Mill."

The Official Receiver is looking in to Mr Jones estate in a bid to recover the cost of the repairs.

Mr Jones was unavailable for comment.

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