18th Century Preston mill bought to become community hub is back up for sale after three years

Plans to turn an 18th century windmill into a community centre and food bank will no longer be going ahead, as it goes back up for sale with an asking price of £150k.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 3:20 pm

The Craggs Row mill, Preston' s last standing windmill, is back on the market again with planning permission for either leisure, residential or commercial use.

The 1700's jewel was set to be given a new lease of life last year and transformed into a community hub, after being granted permission by the council to be fully restored and have its outbuilding turned into a workshop.

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The 18th century mill set to become home for Preston community food hub

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The 1700s windmill was bought by Richard Porter in 2018

Bought for £70,000 2018 by local man Richard Porter, he had drawn up exciting plans to transform the Grade II listed building, which spans 3,000 square feet, into a multi-purpose centre used primarily to help disadvantaged people in Preston.

And the community project was set to apply for cash from the Heritage fund to see it restored and developed into a 'blank canvas' for local organisations to use, including food bank Here for Humanity, but such plans never came to light.

Owner Richard, who is now busy running the online game site Hashtag Quiz, has remarketed the mill with an asking price of £150,000 after spending £20,000 on site surveys and says he hopes somebody else can create a new vision for the historical building.

Although up for an asking price of £150,000, he remains open to offers in a bid to speed up the sale of the mill.

The mill is up for sale with HDAK properties

The property is currently on the market with HDAK Commercial Property Consultants, based in Preston.

He said: "We had originally planned to work with the Here for Humanity group for them to run their food bank from there, but with Covid they became too big and they found there was too much need for people to be fed during such difficult times.

"It took weeks to get the planning permission through and by the time listed consent came through, they needed something urgently and quicker to be able to feed families in poverty and the mill just wasn't the right home for that.

"I can no longer find a new use for it and it needs someone with the time and passion to put money into it. My main focus now is working as an entertainment provider and I need to solely work on building my online quiz business.

An interior shot of the 18th century mill

"The beautiful mill needs someone who has the time to invest and bring it into its full potential so it can last another 300 years. My biggest concern is that it just continues to sit there and deteriorate.

"I would like to see it brought into use as some kind of community-led organisation, but realistically it has so many other opportunities and could make a great bar, restaurant or even block of apartments.

"I would like the council to be willing to help and be up for a discussion to secure the future for the building."

Richard, who lives in Preston, spent £20,000 on achieving planning permissions for the site, the recording of all building measurements and various surveys by structural engineers to determine the state of the site.

Richard Porter is using his time to manage his online website Hashtag Quiz

He claims that the building 'does not need any drastic action or repair work' but that the render currently needs to be repaired.

Built in 1760, it lost its sails in 1880 and has since served a variety of roles - from a piano workshop to a garage and an overflow prison. During the war, it was used as a cinema.

Aidan Turner-Bishop of Preston Historical Society previously told the Post: “By law, it has to be preserved. It was first listed in June 1950 as the only surviving example of a windmill in the town and one of the few to survive in the county.”

Councillor David Borrow, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation at Preston City Council, said: “The Cragg’s Row Mill has played many roles in its long and varied history and remains an important building in Preston and a reminder of the city’s industrial past.

“We hope that the building can find a new use moving forward and continue to play a role in the future of the city, perhaps in a role that supports the local community.

“As a Grade II listed building any alterations must be done sensitively and in keeping with the original design.”

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