First phase of Halnaker Windmill restoration complete

The tiled outside, cap and balconies have been fully restored and the sails will be added next Spring
The tiled outside, cap and balconies have been fully restored and the sails will be added next Spring

Beautiful 18th century Halnaker Windmill is finally free of scaffolding and back as one of the South Downs’ most iconic landmarks.

The first phase of restoration works to a Grade II listed building to completely replace the tiled exterior and repair the white cap and balconies is now complete.

It had been closed off since 2013

It had been closed off since 2013

However, re-fitting the sails and door won’t now happen until next Spring after further delays due to bad weather.

The windmill has been fenced off for safety reasons since May 2013 after an internal beam fell during an act of vandalism.

The incident led to further issues being discovered, including a spur showing signs of failure and tiles falling from the building.

Phase one of the renovations to the windmill, which sits on the top of Halnaker Hill, to replace the tile hung façade, has now been finished and the scaffolding has come down, West Sussex County Council said today, Monday, October 10.

Will Lydon and Frank Sayers of Fowlers fixing tiles during refurbishment

Will Lydon and Frank Sayers of Fowlers fixing tiles during refurbishment

Jeremy Hunt, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “The restoration of this iconic landmark has been fraught with complications - not least the weather and its location - which has meant restoration work is impossible in the winter months.

“I am thankful that we have been able to maintain public access to the site all year around, despite the extensive works being carried out.”

Stage two of the works will include re-fitting the sails - known locally as sweeps - and the door.

It had been hoped this could be done ahead of the winter but wet weather has meant that this is unlikely to take place until the spring, the county council said.

Halnaker Windmill in 2014, pictured by Paul Vincent

Halnaker Windmill in 2014, pictured by Paul Vincent

Mr Hunt said: “I am delighted to see the windmill almost back to its former glory now that the scaffolding has been removed and we can look forward to installing the refurbished sails next spring.

“I would like to stress how hard the whole team has worked to try to get the job done quickly, especially as the work is weather dependant.

“The land gets really soft in the winter and, apart from not wanting to damage the ground, it would not be safe taking heavy equipment to and from the site.

“However, the important thing is we have completed the re-tiling, which means that the building is now sound and protected from the weather.

“I would like to thank the contractor, a local Sussex company, for their extremely diligent work in this interesting project.

“I would also like to thank other local contractors, as well as the landowner, who have all been extremely helpful in enabling us to successfully complete the first phase of the restoration.

“Finally, I would like to once again thank everyone for their understanding whilst this work has been taking place.”

To find out more about Halnaker Windmill, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk and search for ‘Halnaker Windmill’.

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