Mill is set to get new lease of life

SOLD The former mill at Birdham Pool marina
SOLD The former mill at Birdham Pool marina
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THE risk of things going bump in the night has not stopped an investor from taking over a former water mill.

In an unusual move, no reserve price was put on the Grade II-listed brick-and-timber property at Birdham Pool Marina, Chichester Harbour when it went for auction.

The mill is believed to date back to 1728, and there were originally two tidal mills battling to grind wheat and oats on the peninsula.

Despite the tales of hauntings – believed to be the ghost of a rival miller – the bidding was heated.

James Emson, the auctioneer for Clive Emson land and property auctioneers, said: ‘With a zero reserve, bidding was fast and furious, and the gavel came down on a final bid of £62,000.

‘The new owner has got one heck of a lot of bricks, timber and mortar, with some of the best views in England, for the price of a luxury car. You could call this a bargain of a lifetime.

‘We are not privy to any plans the new owner has, but the building offers an extraordinary redevelopment opportunity.

‘Subject to the necessary consents being obtainable, it could be transformed into a stunning house or deluxe apartments, a restaurant or a pub. Alternatively, the new owner may wish to keep things as they are.’

The Mill, which was privately owned and used for storage and office space, was sold on a new 999-year lease, with an initial ground rent of £100 and a pre-emptive right to a berth on normal annual terms.

It was previously used as a tidal mill until 1935, making it the last working tidal mill in Sussex before it was pressed into service to build and repair naval boats during the Second World War.