Funding support for Mearns mill project

There are plans to rejuvenate the Mill of Benholm buildings
There are plans to rejuvenate the Mill of Benholm buildings

A community project which aims to breathe new life into a former Mearns mill has been granted £5000 by councillors for legal advice.

Mill of Benholm Trust is working towards rejuvenating the complex of buildings near Johnshaven.

The category A-listed buildings are described by Historic Environment Scotland as “an exceptional and rare survival” and are currently owned by Aberdeenshire Council.

Several years ago the then trust leased the site from the authority and operated it as a visitor attraction featuring cafe, plant sales, woodland walks and a training facility for adults with special needs.

But it was forced to close its doors in April, 2014, following health and safety issues.

Now a resurrected trust is seeking to take over ownership through a community asset transfer.

It wants to see the mill re-opened to visitors with enhanced education and workshop facilities and an extended cafe alongside outdoor leisure and learning opportunities.

Kincardine and Mearns councillors heard concern over future maintenance of an access track had prompted an application for financial support.

A council report stated: “The title deeds which have been provided to the trust, have raised concerns over future maintenance of the access tracks leading to the mill and responsibility of a bridge within the boundary site.

“The trustees are required to seek their own legal advice to ensure that there are no legal impediments preventing their request for ownership. Funding up to a maximum of £5,000 is being sought from the area committee budget in order to assist the trustees seek professional services.”

Councillors unanimously agreed the application, with Cllr George Carr saying there was “superb community backing” for the “ambitious project”.