Plans to build visitor centre at Nutley Windmill

Plans to build a visitor centre and toilet at the Grade 2* Nutley Windmill are before Wealden Council.

The centre would allow a permanent display of historic items, photographs and an area for an audio/visual display for disabled visitors.

The windmill dates from the 16th century according to documents accompanying the application.

It is an “open trestle post” mill, the original design of windmills in this country and one of only five remaining in the country.

Nutley is the only one in workable order and is the oldest in Sussex.

A design and access statement says the mill was moved to Crowborough Road, Nutley, in about 1835, probably from Crowborough.

It was used until 1908 but then rested until 1968 when the Uckfield and District Preservation Society was formed. It was restored to working order in 1972, with the agreement of the owner Lady Castle Stewart and was then given to the society, with surrounding land by her estate in 1995.

A Victorian barn was then refurbished and an electricity supply provided.

“We have to use this barn as both a workshop and visitor centre and it has never been satisfactory as both.

“For the majority of the time it is used as the workshop, but for open days it is turned into a visitor centre. It is necessary to lock away tools, work and materials and divide it in two with a set of screen doors.”

Displays and exhibits have to be set up but when visitor parties or schools attend outside open days the visitor centre is not available.

There are no seats or disabled facilities and the only toilet is a chemical toilet in a toilet tent.

The lack of facilities is blamed for difficulties in attracting additional volunteers and visitors and make it difficult to charge entrance fees.

The documents say the windmill is running at a loss and the financial position must be improved if the society is to continue maintaining it and opening it to the public.

“We believe these improvements will provide a better tourist attraction on Ashdown Forest and help us to maintain this historic Grade 2* windmill.”

See also:

Uckfield students win chance to sing at Olympics

Inspector queries housing figures in Wealden planning strategy

Farewell to Uckfield rector

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