Howsham Mill restoration in Heritage Lottery Fund boost

image captionThe mill, which dates back to about 1755, will harness the power of the river to generate electricity

Plans to transform a ruined Georgian watermill in North Yorkshire into an education centre producing green energy have been given a funding boost.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has committed £19,500 to the project at Howsham Mill, near Malton.

The money will help it apply for a full grant of just under £600,000 for the restoration work.

The grade II listed 18th Century mill, was a finalist on the 2006 BBC Two series Restoration Village.

The Renewable Heritage Trust aims to restore the ruined building and reinstate the watermill together with an Archimedean screw turbine to generate electricity from the river.

The first phase of the project, restoring the granary that houses the hydropower equipment, is complete and electricity is being generated.

The initial funding from the HLF will allow the Renewable Heritage Trust to commission work to develop the plans for the second phase, which will see the main building restored to its former glory on the outside and converted into a classroom and meeting space inside.

'Innovative thinking'

There are also plans to appoint an education and events officer to oversee all future activities at the mill.

The initial funding is being matched by electricity sales from the hydropower scheme and a grant from the Country Houses Foundation to provide the £39,500 needed to develop the plans.

If all goes to plan, the finished building could be open to visitors by autumn 2012.

Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and Humber, said: "We're extremely pleased to give initial support to the Howsham Mill project which demonstrates some really innovative thinking in bringing alive a wonderful heritage asset while developing a working legacy for its future.

"We look forward to working with the Renewable Heritage Trust and receiving their application for a full grant in the future."

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