Public views sought on £2.5million bid to restore disused 19th century mill

By Anna Hartt Black Pool Mill

Views are being sought for a major project to restore an iconic Grade 2* listed Pembrokeshire mill to its Victorian heyday, creating 60 jobs and injecting 1.6million into the local economy.

A public consultation will be launched today (Mon 26 Sept) on the ambitious, sympathetic restoration project to transform Black Pool Mill into an all-weather, Victorian-themed attraction with its own narrow gauge steam railway. 

It is hoped that comments will be put forward not just on the proposals themselves but also on the potential opportunities for local traders as a result.

Currently lying disused and in a state of disrepair, the 19th century flour mill sits within a Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
It was fully operational until the Second World War and has survived with a full set of machinery.

The detailed proposals span each of the building’s five floors and its surrounding ancillary buildings and landscape. They will include a Victorian tea room, a milling experience, a history and discovery level, a creative crafts workshop and a Victorian-themed ‘Escape the Room’ experience.

Two ancillary buildings, including the original miller’s cottage, will also be brought back to life. The outdoor riverside meadow will be utilised for culturally significant occasions that bring the community together.

An exhibition and events barn will offer a year-round facility to host exhibitions and events in support of local traders. Key to making the mill a year-round attraction will be the addition of a narrow-gauge steam railway with its own station and platform.

Bluestone CEO, William McNamara OBE, said: “Black Pool Mill would once have been a hive of activity and a central pillar of the community - today it stands unloved and disused. What we’re planning will see a 19th century building given a 21st century purpose that preserves it for future generations.

“The mill’s heyday would have been the Victorian era, when the industrial revolution marked a shift to powered, specialist machinery. Our proposals will celebrate this bygone time, bringing it back to life for the general public and staying guests of Bluestone.

“In consultation with some of the UK’s leading heritage, ecology and biodiversity experts, we have designed an ambitious restoration programme for the mill and its surrounding landscape, to preserve, manage and improve the site in its entirety.

“Historic integrity runs through the very core of this project and we are proposing a thoughtful and sympathetic approach, enabling the architectural features of the past to shine through and offering visitors a rare opportunity to take a step into history.

“The narrow gauge railway steam railway will be instrumental as part of this, transporting guests back in time with all of the associated sights, sounds and smells so intrinsically linked to the Victorian era.”

The renovation of the mill is expected to increase occupancy at Bluestone, which in turn will see an increase in incremental spend in the local economy.

Details on the consultation can be found here http://www.bluestonewales.com/blackpool-mill. Subject to planning permission, it is anticipated that work will get underway early in 2017, opening in Spring 2018.

ENDS

Notes to editors:-

Award winning Bluestone is an environmentally sensitive development based within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, offering free range activities and lodges, cottages and studios to outdoorsy families. Bluestone employs 700 people and achieved in 2016 Gold Standard Investors in People award.

Issued by: Golley Slater PR Cardiff
Contact: Anna Hartt, Account Director
Email: ahartt@golleyslater.co.uk
Date: 23/09/16

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