Mill of Benholm asset transfer request withdrawn

A north east group has withdrawn its request for the asset transfer of an historic Aberdeenshire mill.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 7:00 am
Built in 1817, the mill closed in April 2014.

The Mill of Benholm Enterprise (MoBE) had applied to take over the running of the Mill of Benholm near Johnshaven with the intention to create a vibrant community hub and heritage attraction.

The mill was built in 1817 and has a water wheel, pond, former millers house, grain store, and several acres of grounds with an orchard area and woodland. The facility closed in April 2014 and ownership was transferred to Aberdeenshire Council.

A report recommending approval of the Asset Transfer went before the Marr Area Committee in September 2019. However on January 29 of this year the group submitted notification of its decision to withdraw the asset transfer request.

The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee were asked to acknowledge the withdrawal and agree that the group be given a Decision Notice of Refusal.

Councillor George Carr, who was once a member of the Mill of Benholm board, said: “It’s really sad that we are here today, the Benholm Mill is an extremely sad place now to visit. It has deteriorated, the grounds have deteriorated and it will cost even more to bring it back up to where we want it to be.”

“I for one want to see an acceleration of things and certainly want to see the hurdles that have been placed towards progressing this to be resolved swiftly so that the mill can be brought back to life again.”

Acknowledging the group, Councillor Leigh Wilson said: “They’ve done everything that can possibly be expected of them and more yet we as a council have let them down. I fear we are setting an incredibly dangerous precedent here. We have an asset that the council can no longer maintain and isn’t maintaining but we can’t work with the community and achieve an asset transfer to maintain the mill as a public good.

The committee agreed to a motion by councillor Wilson that the Area Manager write to the chair of the Mill of Benholm Enterprise noting their withdrawal of their application. It also requested that the Area Manager and Property team begin “urgent discussions” with the North of Scotland Preservation Trust to reach a “swift and satisfactory solution” regarding the long-term future of the mill.