Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

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Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 6 - Site 3 - Windmill Lane

Representation ID: 7093

Received: 07/03/2019

Respondent: Midland Wind and Water Mills Group

Representation Summary:

Berkswell Windmill is an exquisite example surviving in its original state and setting, and is unique in the West Midlands. Development opposite the Historic windmill site would significantly effect the importance of its setting in the landscape and destroy the characteristic view over the fields. The development would fatally damage the flow of air to the mill, especially as the prevailing wind is from the south-west. The mill is open to visitors occasionally, and if the wind is strong enough visitors can see the sails turning. This would not be possible if the wind is blocked.

Full text:

I am writing on behalf of the Midland Wind and Water Mills Group to express our extreme concern over the plans to build houses and flats close to Berkswell Windmill in Windmill Lane, Balsall Common a grade 2* listed building.

Our Group was founded in 1976 and between us we have a vast amount of knowledge about the old mills of the midland counties.

Over the years we have seen a massive decline in the whole country in the number of windmills and watermills that survive in their original state and setting. Berkswell windmill remains as an exquisite example of what was once a typical Warwickshire tower windmill, complete both inside and out. There are now no other windmills with their sails and machinery left in West Midlands county, none at all in Staffordshire, none in Worcestershire except for the windmill of a completely different kind in Avoncroft museum. In Warwickshire, Chesterton Mill is interesting but utterly atypical of an English windmill (an architectural freak!), and there are two or three others in a very battered state, rather inaccessible, and of nowhere near the quality of Berkswell Mill.

Building near the mill would significantly affect the mill in two ways:
1. The characteristic view of the mill over the fields would be lost for ever. Windmills obviously were built in open places, to catch the wind, and a windmill (except a very tall one) surrounded by houses is as much a nonsense as a seaside pier on dry land. The importance of the setting of a historic building has now been incorporated into Historic England guidelines regarding the acceptable development of land.
2. The flow of air to the mill would be fatally damaged. This is especially so since the wind most frequently blows from the south-west, where the development is proposed. (Incidentally, twentieth-century residential development already blocks the wind if it blows from due west). The mill is open to visitors once a month in the summer and at various other occasions and if the wind is strong enough on those occasions and sometimes at other times, the sails are set to turn, and it is a truly thrilling sight, which would no longer be possible if the wind were blocked.

We urge you therefore not to chose the site opposite the windmill for redevelopment.

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