In 2000 Denver Windmill reopened to the public as a heritage, education, leisure and tourist site following a massive funding grant to the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust.
By 2007 the project was in financial trouble and in June 2008 Denver Mill Ltd leased the site in order to turn the failing business round and establish a long term sutainable project in conjunction with the Trust.
The Trust have failed in their responsibilities for the maintenance and condition of the site to such a degree that Denver Mill Ltd and the project will close at the end of January 2009 with the loss of 13 jobs and business to over 25 local suppliers unless immediate pressure is brought on the Trust's governing organisations, the Norfolk County Council and Campaign to Protect Rural England (Norfolk) to move the project forward.
UPDATE 17th Jan: Meeting with the Trust on 13th January.
The current work schedules on the Cottages and Windmill were confirmed along with repair work to stop water entering the building in various places. However it is apparent that there are differing opinions within the Trust as to its responsibilities, both as a commercial landlord and to the project.
The Concluding Report of the Dispute Resolution states “NHBT seems not to have understood the needs of Denver Mill Ltd, as having a working mill and cottages in good, lettable condition as the basis of their business, neither the impact on the business of delays…” and “…in the case of Denver Mill, the mill is both the property and, in a real sense, the business; it is integral to both and to the interest of both parties … and its implications may not have been appreciated by the Trust”.
Within the proposals is stated “… a claim for loss of income … is understood to be legitimate within the terms of the lease …” This has now been confirmed by a specialist lawyer and the position of the project on the 1st February hangs entirely on the decision by the Trust at the end of January to honor this debt without the financial and commercial damage litigation will cause.
Both the Norfolk County Council and CPRE (Norfolk) continue to work with us to maintain this project and ‘cautious optimism’ prevails.
The Mill was gifted to the County and public funds allowed the provision of the current facilities so all efforts should be made to support and develop the site as the unique county, regional and national asset that it is.
We therefore wish to register our concern over the conduct by the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust that has jeopardised its future.