Herne Mill has been listed as an asset of community value (ACV) by senior officers at Canterbury City Council. The designation for the Grade I listed windmill, which is currently owned by Kent County Council (KCC), came after it was nominated by the Friends of Herne Mill group.

Nominating an asset as an ACV is a way of community groups protecting assets from being sold. If the owner decides to sell, they have to notify Canterbury City Council and it will notify local organisations.

Canterbury City Councillors and Friends of Herne Mill group members standing in front of Herne Mill with a banner that says 'Save our Windmill'

Friends of Herne Mill group – Photo: CCC

If a community interest group or a charity puts in an expression of interest, the sale has to pause for six months, to give them time to raise the money to acquire the asset. The fate of eight windmills across the county hangs in the balance after KCC closed its consultation on their future at the end of January.

Herne Mill, which is used for community events, educational visits and as a polling station, was listed as an ACV on 18 December and its plight was raised at Full Council on 4 January.

Cllr Robert Jones asked Cllr Charlotte Cornell, Cabinet Member for Heritage, Open Space, Waste and Recycling, if the council’s heritage experts could work with the Friends of Herne Mill group to ensure it keeps and maintains an important heritage asset.

In the meeting, Cllr Cornell replied:

“I would give full support to a community group that wishes to preserve the mill, a key part of our economic heritage, a key learning resource and geographical marker.”

Cllr Cornell joined Cllr Joe Howes at the mill to meet the Friends group on Wednesday 31 January.

Canterbury City Council’s response to KCC’s consultation said:

“KCC…[has] a duty to protect windmills’ historic fabric and machinery, and ensure they are safe.

“Canterbury City Council emphasises the importance of these windmill sites remaining accessible to the local community/wider public as important historical and educational structures, particularly where these have a longstanding track record of performing such roles.”

The results from KCC’s consultation will be presented to its Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee before a decision is made by its Cabinet Member for Environment.

KCC will publish a consultation report, summarising the consultation responses, on its website.

By Ed

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