FEARS over two planning applications which could render the High Salvington Windmill ‘inoperable’ by blocking the wind were debated by councillors last week.
Two properties bordering the mill, in Furze Road, applied for extensions, including roof enlargements and a large double garage.
But volunteers who run the ‘unique’ Grade II listed mill argued they would block the ever-diminishing windflow and stop its sails turning.
Speaking against the first application, for 1 Furze Road, John Tripcony said: “Our objection is the proposed building will be 20ft high and will in some measure reduce windflow to the mill, however any future development will cease functioning.
“There are only 42 working mills in the country and only half actually grind and make flour and this is one of them, so it is pretty rare.”
The application at 1 Furze Road was proposed by developer Paul Meredith, who wanted to convert the property from two flats into a six-bedroom house, including an extension and detached garage.
He dismissed concerns over the wind as ‘poppycock’, suggesting buildings on the mill site were taller than his proposed garage and suitable screening would be installed.
He said: “You need to look at it on its planning merits, not on the tittle tattle and collusion going on.
“The garage will be the best in the road.”
The committee heard a written statement from a mill owner from out of the area, who attempted to solve the wind debate.
He suggested the proposal may involve removing trees, which would improve windflow but warned much of the damage had already been done by previous developments.
“High Salvington is a low post mill with its sails coming close to the ground, so that even a slight lifting of the boundary layer has a big effect.
“In High Salvington, the damage has already been done by past development but I would urge you to consider setting restrictions upon any future near development in the neighbourhood of the mill particularly preventing any raising of roof lines.”
The application was rejected as the committee felt the garage was too large, too close to the road and broke the building line.
Mr Meredith said afterwards he planned to appeal and expected to get the decision overturned.
Building work has already commenced.
The second application was brought by family man Andrew Hunt, who wanted to make alterations to an existing application, granted in 2013. He told the committee he was a supporter of the mill and was only trying to alter his home so it could support his family.
The changes were granted by planners, who felt the minor changes to the original plan would be ‘hard to refuse’.
Speaking after the meeting, chairman of the High Salvington Windmill board Tom Wye said: “Andrew is a really nice bloke and is trying to do something for his family.
“It just narrows the envelope of wind we can use from the south west. If somebody else builds a house it will be blocked.
“There are only two directions of wind left.”