Step forward for Tide Mill project

EXCITING proposals to restore historic Woodbridge Tide Mill back into a full working mill are today set to take a big step forward.Lottery funding is being sought for the project, which is expected to cost more than £500,000.

EXCITING proposals to restore historic Woodbridge Tide Mill back into a full working mill are today set to take a big step forward.

Lottery funding is being sought for the project, which is expected to cost more than £500,000.

Suffolk Coastal councillors will next week be asked to consider the plans and to agree them, providing the Environment Agency's concerns over disposal of material from the mill pond can be settled.

Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust's project aims to grind corn and produce flour and to blend traditional craft with modern technology to encourage more people to visit the grade one-listed building.

This will include putting in a new water wheel, rebuilding the wheelhouse, internal alterations, toilet, new river defences to protect the mill from erosion, and construction of a new channel to carry water from River Deben into the millpond.

The project will allow the mill to operate for around 30 years. At present scouring from the river is undermining its concrete apron which protects the mill's foundations and the new apron and sheet piling will ensure the long-term protection of the building.

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Dredging mud from the millpond to maximise the amount of water available to drive the mill is the main point of concern.

It had been hoped to pump the mud back into the river.

But a report to be considered by the south area development control committee stated: “After having samples of the mud analysed, the presence of contaminants was found including tributyl-tin (TBT) which is judged to be toxic “This therefore precludes pumping the mud back into the river and means a disposal off-site has to be considered.

“Pumping mud into a barge for dumping at sea was considered but abandoned following advice from DEFRA. Transfer to a landfill site is an option. Mud would be removed by suction pump or bucket to an 18 cubic metre road tanker, which would entail about 30 journeys spread over two weeks.”

The Environment Agency wants to look further into the matter as an area of river could be a TBT hotspot which it might be possible to resolve.

What do you think of the Tide Mill plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

There have been tide mills on the site since 1170. The present building dates from 1793 and last worked in 1957. It fell into disrepair but was opened to the public in 1973 after extensive restoration.

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