Historic mill for sale, scope for improvement

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The phrase ‘a once-in-a-lifetime property’ might be a well worn cliche by estate agents, you would think, but on this occasion you have every reason to believe it is true.

The Birdham Mill, a Grade II listed building situated at the entrance to the Birdham Pool, will be sold at auction next month, and this week had the first of three open viewings to prospective buyers.

In an unusual situation the building, which has 3,682 sq ft of floor space, will be sold with no reserve at auction as the agents simply don’t know what its true value is.

But what is clear is the need for a refurbishment throughout as decades of disuse after a fire in 1975 have left it a bit rustic, to say the least.

However, once it has been renovated, the new owner will be left with arguably one of the south’s most unique properties with stunning views of the harbour.

The 999-year lease is to be sold by auction on Monday, April 16, at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, by Clive Emson, and Henry Adams.

Auctioneer Sam Kilnoch said it was the first such property to come to market in his ten years’ experience.

“I have sold a tower, the sea forts in Southampton, a few radar stations, and even a nuclear bunker, but never a tidal mill,” he said.

“You cannot beat the location.

“The majority of people will be looking at it as residential for two or three units, or as a whole house.”

Martin Curry, land director at Henry Adams, said there were plenty of cliches that fit the bill to describe it.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I expect it will be very sought after, it will be an interesting day at the auction.

“Jointly we have had over 100 phone calls about it already.”

The mill, which has wood decking through, was built in 1768, although according to the Domesday Book an earlier tidal mill may have existed in the area.

In more recent history in 1935 the Farne family sold it, the nearby Court Barn property and its land to Captain H.R.S Coldicott, who founded Birdham Estates Limited.

It ceased to work as a traditional tidal mill that year, making it the last working mill of its kind in Sussex.

More recently part of the building was home to chandlery.

It is to be sold on a new 999 year lease at an initial ground rental of £100 per year and a pre-emptive right to berth on normal annual terms.

For more information call Henry Adams on 01243 521819, or Clive Emson on 0845 6036614.