watermill5.jpg
THE OLD WATER MILL ON THE PANG AT BUCKLEBURY

Update September 2014

Despite a few delays and false starts, and having approached a number of national funds for assistance, I an sorry to report that we have been unable to raise enough money to commence the rebuilding and restoration of the Old Water Mill. The following is a notice recently inserted in The Oaks magazine which represents Bucklebury Parish and the Parish Council. It explains the postion and asks anyone interested to contact.

Restoration of the Old Watermill at Bucklebury Village
Many Parishioners will be aware that a small group of us have been trying to find grant funding to restore this historic old mill back to full working order. As you know it was badly damaged by fire when the adjoining old barn burnt down back in 1996. But all the essential machinery, gearing, grinding stones, wheel etc were saved intact. A lot of work was done to assess support for it restoration, obtain quotes and get planning consent a year or so before the floods of 2007. We then had to wait for the flood defences to be installed before progressing which took us to 2011. Although we now have full planning consent for this listed building, including its use for educational purposes, and following 5 separate applications for funding from the major national and local grant-funders, we have been disappointed and sadly have failed in our efforts. This is despite significant enthusiastic support from schools and educational trusts in the district and endorsement of our efforts by the Environment Agency and our own parish council, as well as considerable enthusiasm from numerous parish residents and the Pang Valley Conservation Volunteers. It would seem that, although the cost is quoted at less than £50,000 and despite being short-listed each time, the grant-funders simply have too many calls on their funds to be able to help.
So this article is to update everyone on the situation. It is still theoretically possible to raise money through individual approaches to quite a number of charitable trusts ( we know of over 30 such) and it would be even possible to set up a formal crowd-funding scheme. Unfortunately this takes a fair bit of time but a group of say 6 or 8 people could easily handle it. I, myself, am retiring from the project but will work with anyone else who would like to take over. The planning consents have more than two years to run and are renewable. All the work is quoted for and readily activated. If anyone would like to take this on perhaps they could let the Bucklebury Estate or the undersigned know and we can readily put something together. Meanwhile I am afraid to say this very worthwhile and historical project is now in abeyance and a unique opportunity may be gone forever. The old mill is now only a ruin but its full restoration is not very difficult. I look forward to hearing from any enthusiasts who might be interested.
Alastair McOran-Campbell
The Watermill Restoration Company Ltd
Bucklebury
0118 971 3325


Update November 2010:
Following the confirmation of the Environment Agency's plans for the long term flood alleviation scheme ( and the commencement on these works in October 2010 ) and following the recent Parish Plan Refresh Survey of all residents which inter alia asked for opinion about the Restoration of the Watermill, we are now looking again at funding for this project. If things go according to plan, we should be able to start work in Spring 2011. This websiete will contian periodic updates but in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact Alastair McOran-Campbell, 0118 972 3325, Secretary of The atermill Restoration Company Limted ( a not-for-profit company.)

The satistics from Parish Plan Refresh Survey (taken in May 2010) are, as far as the Watermill is concerned, as follows:

Total Parish Households 850 All surveyed
Number of surveys returned 436 (49.8%)
No of respondents who think the Restoration of the Watermill is a good idea 288 (66.0%)
No of respondents offering assistance with the project 26.



Report on Restoration Summer 2007 - Summer 2008 - And Summer 2009

We have been waiting for some time for planning consent and funding in order to get started on restoring the Old Mill. It was almost destroyed in 1996 at the time the Black Barn, to which it was attached, was burnt down. Records dating back more than 300 years and more refer to this and other mills on the Pang and it is even thought that this mill is one of those actually in the Domesday Book.

The Watermill Restoration Company Limited, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, has been formed to organise and operate the project and a volunteer group formed to assist, principally with the provision of labour. Negotiations are in hand with a local well-known Restoration Company to oversee the project and supply all necessary materials and expertise. An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is in progress and it is thought that this will supply most of the cost of the timber and thatch required. Nearly all the milling machinery, gearing, stones etc is still intact. The end result will be a working water mill in almost original condition. This will not only provide our community with a peaceful and picturesque site but also afford a useful educational experience for our local schools. The project is also adopted by the [[http://www.barg-online.org/ Berkshire Industrial Archaeology Group]] which is providing invaluable expertise.

After considerable delays with planning permission and with totally exceptional flooding of houses in the VIllage in summer 2007 - it is hoped to make a start in August or September 2008. (See Update below) Anyone who would like to help in any way, or simply to take an interest, is very welcome to join the group: please contact either Robin Wallace-Sims (0118 971 3185) or Alastair McOran-Campbell (0118 971 3325).




The listed buildings authorities requested full detailed drawings of our restoration proposals even though we have stated we shall not be diverging in any way from the original structures (which are mostly documented). Mr Nick Whiteley, architect, of Ferndale Court, Mortimer has been engaged to provide full detailed plans and thses were completed some months ago. He has also arranged all the necessary planning consents. Our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is now in progress, is expected to be finalised at the end of September 2008. It will then taket 8-10 weeks for aproval of funds and consent to proceed to come through. We shall keep you posted ! (Alastair McOran-Campbell)

Further Update: Because of delays by the Environment Agency in completeing their proposals for the Village Flood Defence programme (despite the enormous amount of careful and time consuming work put in by our village Flood Alleviation team ) it has been necessary to defer our final application for Heritage Lottery Fund funding assistance until early Summer 2009. We understand that our application, which is now lodged in full, is generally acceptable but, unfortunately this does not mean we shall eventually be granted assistance ! As the HLF have such an enormous call on their funds - made somewhat more diffilcult because of a considerable proportion being syphoned off to the Olympic Games project - even "good" applications are quite likely to be sidelined. It would seem that getting Lottery Fund assistance is in fact a lottery in itself ! But we remain hopeful and expect to be notified one way or the other towards the end of August, early September. Will keep you posted.

It is perhaps worth noting that this project has been very well received by our Parish Council and by numerous letters of support from most of the schools in the area - and, of course, by the John Simonds Trust (educational charity) at Rushall Farm (Mr John Bishop, Mr Cliff Marriott et. al.) - and by many other conservationist and enthusiasts. If the HLF fail, we already have in mind some alternatives. The total essential costs (excluding voluntary labour) are estimated at about £44,000, including thatch. (AMcO-C.) July 09. We have subsequently applied to Biffaward for a similar amount but have been turned down, although we were shortlisted. (February 2010.)





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