Councillors to consider £1.7M Mill of Benholm re-vamp plans

The  historic 18th century Mill of Benholm.

The historic 18th century Mill of Benholm.

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Councillors are expected to back plans tomorrow for a £1.7million redevelopment project for the historic Mill of Benholm.

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee will be asked to consider four options for the future of the mill, which is near Johnshaven.

The mill is Aberdeenshire Council-owned, but was run by a Trust which provided work experience and training for people with special needs until health and safety issues forced the facility to close in 2014.

The report put before the committee will present four options, and councillors are being urged to back option 2, which will see a reduced level of restoration and improvements, which will “deliver most of the heritage and community benefits, while being financially sustainable and within the capacity to be delivered”.

Other options include full re-development at a cost of £2.3m, or minimal repairs and improvements at a cost of £670,000. A fourth option is to do nothing, which would lead to the closure and sale of the site.

Director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said: “The preferred option is number two, partial redevelopment and for a new community trust to be established, to manage the site for public benefit.

“This would draw upon people with appropriate skills and experience in the local community and have clear and robust aims and governance structures.

“The Trust could be supported by Aberdeenshire Council, NESPT (North East Scotland Preservation Trust) and a network of local volunteers, although further detail of this approach has yet to be considered.

“The mill would remain the core of the site, open to visitors as a working heritage attraction, with enhanced education and workshop options.

“The cafe would be renewed, with better facilities and bigger capacity.”