News - Throop Mill Residents Complaint and Updates

NEW - 10th April 2012 // UPDATED - 12th April 2012 // UPDATED - 18th April 2012 // UPDATED - 24th July 2012

UPDATE - 24th July 2012

E-mail Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker
23rd July 2012
RE: Throop Mill

Throop Mill, Bournemouth

Throop Mill - Grade 2 Listed.


Thanks but not unexpected comments from Mr. Heygate, after so many years [in fact it is now over 20], when Peter Challen and Phil Robinson plus Ted Warne our then deputy Borough Engineer all wrote individual letters expressing [1994], "public expressing their disquiet regarding the the inactivity and apparent reluctance of all parties to produce firm proposals to ensure the upkeep and preservation of this unique listed building". So again after hundreds attempts to try to secure a positive and useful life for this grade 2 listed Mill, with much of its internal machinery intact, we are now no nearer to any solution in seeing an investment into making Throop Mill a major part of a visitor centre with ALL its added facilities, as SO MENTIONED in the South East Dorset Green Infrastructure Evidence and Opportunities Study [2010].

As pointed out in 2008 by The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Throop Mill is too interesting and unusual a survival of our milling heritage for any thought by Heygates now to remove the machinery parts from this building, and I believe would not have the support of SPAB and English Heritage.

Also as we know interest has been shown by the Renewable Energy Producer and Learning Centre at Shillito Road, Parkstone, [Thersa Mcmanus] into making this building with grants and other help into an a possible use for generating renewable energy, but here of cause one know that in 1972 the main Stour was diverted which clearly now effects the small flow of water under the existing Mill.

One glimmer of hope is what you have said Roger, and one I have through these endless correspondence is for Heygates to test the market and allow someone who is hopeful of being motivated to take this property on. I cannot accept the case which we have had repeatedly over 20 years that the milling equipment suppressed the potential value of the site. Visitors to the building would love to hear the history and yes see how the mill operated in those days, appreciate it will not be in a operation working order, but with added facilities this building could seriously become a well thought out investment.

BUT having heard only again on Friday when talking to Dr Fisher the likely asking price, that will certainly not be much interest to potential investors, remembering the Building is within the flood plain and other restrictions apply.

I would like this authority to see the advantage in negotiating with Heygates, and looking at our reserves.

Naturally will be copying in the relevant statuary persons who might be interested in the correspondence also Ken Mantock who as then Chairman of planning had a number of meetings with Heygates and is chairman of the Civic society.


Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Roger Ball, Service Director, Technical Services - Bournemouth Council to Councillor Ron Whittaker
23rd July 2012
Throop Mill

Councillor Whittaker,

I write to you, as promised, in order to update you following the meeting we managed to arrange with Mr Heygate regarding the above.

It is evident that there is little urgency from the Heygate perspective and they are quite prepared to carry on doing the minimal repairs required of them and effectively leave the sight dormant.

Nigel and I impressed upon him the local desire to see the building brought back to life but Mr Heygate's fear is that nothing that is achievable in planning terms is economically viable. He does not see a future for the building as form of visitor attraction and feels that any future use of the building will necessitate the removal of the milling equipment.

I suggested that if this was his perspective he may serve the building better by selling his interest to someone else who had a vision for the site and was prepared to invest.

He said that this idea may have some merit and that he would discuss with his fellow family members whether to instigate a sealed bid auction.

He also indicated his opinion was that the continued presence of the milling equipment suppressed the potential value of the site and that he was inclined to apply for permission to remove it as a pre-cursor to any testing of the market.

You can see from this that although the meeting was somewhat frustrating we may of at least seeded the idea in Mr Heygate's mind that he would be better off stepping aside and allowing a more motivated owner take the property on.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Roger Ball
Service Director, Technical Services, Bournemouth Council

UPDATE - 18th April 2012

Letter in the Bournemouth Daily Echo on 17th April 2012

Throop Mill Bournemouth Daily Echo Letter 17th April 2012
UPDATE - 12th April 2012
NEW - 10th April 2012

E-mail from Councillor Ron Whittaker to Gary Platt
7th April 2012
FW: Throop Mill

Throop Mill, Bournemouth


Through Cllr John i know he has requested you to make some form of contact with Haygates in seeking clarifications as to their for this listed grade 2 former Mill which still retains much of its past Milling History with in the building,and yes what forms of aspirations do they hold.

Over the past 20 years i hold hundreds of letters/ emails and council reports on our attempts to see this Wonderful Mill brought back into life, i have set out some of the past background to my request [below], but again this week-end hundreds of visitors in the area, what a tremendous asset this building would be for a museum / visitor centre with a cafeteria/ shop and yes upstairs could be used for officer use.

Sadly the rear of the Mill is showing much deterioration to the outside fabric, our Enforcement with Building services do make twice year checks.

I need to be kept up to speed please in any responses you might receive from the heygates.

Many thanks
Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker
2nd April 2012
RE: Throop Mill


Thank you any help that you and Rob can give will be fully appreciated, as i and thousand of residents /visitors to this lovely beautiful are of the Stour River have said, "what an asset just sitting there, closed", when Mayor in 1993/4, Peter Challen and Phil Robinson both sent letters to Heygates asking as then for some firm proposals to ensure the upkeep and preservation of this unique building, that was a letter from Phil in August 1994, not bad 18 years later we are still asking the same questions.

Again thanks John, this is a valuable asset to the People of Bournemouth.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Councillor John Beesley to Gary Platt
2nd April 2012
FW: Throop Mill

Dear Mr Platt

In view of the email below from Cllr Whittaker about the long-running issue of Throop Mill, I have spoken at length to Nigel Billett to see whether there is a way forward.

Certainly from the Planning Enforcement perspective there doesn’t seem to be at the moment but I wonder whether there might be something we could do from a property angle. Perhaps a letter to Heygates seeking clarification as to their intentions for the building and whether they might be looking to sell it in the future and if so what their aspirations might be.

I would like to have some idea, if only so that Cllr Whittaker in turn can also get some clarity over Heygates' intentions.

Councillor John Beesley - Leader of Bournemouth Council

E-mail from Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Council
1st April 2012
RE: Throop Mill


I am coming to you in the hope that you can please request officers to make contact with Heygates the existing owners of Throop Mill to see as if they have any thought's as to what the intend to do with Throop Mill which ceased being operational in 1972, and has been closed for the past 30 plus years, only in the 80s when the owners allowed the mill to be open on certain days.

As you can see i had a email from on this matter from residents, and my short response, i know Rob has taken and great interest in the Mill, but for the past 20 years i have endeavoured without any luck to seek interest from the owners to test the market for interest.

Sunday saw hundreds of walkers / Cyclist in the area, in the S.E.D Green Infrastructure, Feb 2010, talks of the Mill as a possible visitor centre, with community facilities as a museum / cafeteria, craft / organic shop/ This area is the gateway to the river crossing by the only Wooden Weir Bridge, Sunday like throughout the summer it sees hundreds of walkers / cyclists in the area, yet this valuable asset remains closed, why?

I could go on and on, but what i am now requesting if this council can please give me support in seeking to find out what Haygates vision is for this Grade 2 listed building.

John many thanks
Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker
1st April 2012
RE: Throop Mill

Thank you for your email, myself was down the Mill this afternoon cycling over the Weir Bridge around Hurn and back, what a lovely day, today [Sunday] hundreds down the Riverside, including dozens of cyclist.

Since 1993 i have sent off hundreds of letters, emails / dozens of reports on the Mill, letters to the owners, [Heygates], requesting as to why they cannot seek to allow the Mill to be brought back into life, as you say cafeteria/craft, organic shop / museum displaying local interest as much of the machinery remains within the building, when we were able with the owners to have those few open days in the 80s, together with the South/East Dorset Fringe Project, it proved extremely popular, this added to the footpath that follows the pleasant stretch of our lovely Stour River, and as you and hundreds are saying what a valuable asset, it is nothing short of a scandal that the present owners just don't here seem to care, my wish would be for the council to negotiate with the owners, think the asking price is quite prohibitive. more so as the building is within the flood plain, with would not allow conversion to residential etc.

What i will be doing is try to seek support from our new Council Leader if once again contact could be made direct with the present owners, over past years interest from many private sectors have rang me and i have passed them details of the Haygates address, and know my colleague from the Civic Society [Ken Mantock] has on many numerous occasion make contact, again i have contacted English Heritage, and Society for Protect of Ancient Buildings, sadly no help at all.

Over many years our former Conservation manger wrote many letter and our Enforcement office does make regular checks to the outside of the building.

Frankly am hitting my head against a brick wall here, but will once again seek the help of our local Echo if they can do a further feature on the building, meantime will pass your email with mine to the Leader to see if a further approach can be made.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from a resident to Councillor Ron Whittaker
1st April 2012
Throop Mill

Dear Ron

I trust you are well. I am writing concerning Throop mill. It is still empty after all these years and its such a shame because today I have observed how many people there are out walking on a nice day down the river and loop.I wish something could be done as its such a waste. This mill could be open to the public where teas and cakes, crafts etc could be sold for the upkeep of the mill and would serve as a blessing to the walkers and community.

I know you have done your upmost in the past to rectify this situation. Is there any future hope?

Surely there must be some loophole in the law concerning this listed building and its future to get it off those owners who obviously do not care about it.

Its a disgrace!

Looking forward in hearing from you

Best wishes
Local Residents