FULWELL Mill is taking the first steps on the road to restoration.
The mill, in Newcastle Road, has been closed since Eit was damaged by severe weather in 2012.
Now essential repairs are beginning to prepare the historic building for long-term refurbishment.
The City Council has been working with community partners on reopening the site as a heritage-led cultural attraction.
After a number of expressions of interest, Sunderland North Community Business Centre (SNCBC) has been invited to operate the venue as a heritage/visitor centre while work continues to find further funding and return Fulwell Mill to its former glory.
A £150,000 scheme funded by the city council begins on Monday and will involve removing the damaged ‘cap’ (turning mechanism) and sails to allow the building to be made watertight.
We are all working hard together to return this much loved part of our city’s cultural heritage back to working order, as a visitor and education centre for everyone to enjoy.Coun John Kelly
A temporary flat roof is to be put in place to protect the mill’s machinery until work to install a newly-designed cap starts early next year, after which the search for more funding to cover the cost of restoring the sails will begin.
The long-term restoration is being based on a survey carried out by a Conservation Accredited Architect and specialist Millwright Consultant earlier this year. The survey helped to devise and cost four phases of work.
Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture Coun John Kelly said: “I’m sure everyone is delighted that work is beginning at Fulwell Mill, so it can reopen its doors to the public again.
“The visitor centre is the first step, and I’m sure our partners from the Sunderland North Community Business Centre will do a fantastic job.
“I hope everyone appreciates that this is a long-term project and shares our patience as restoration continues. We are all working hard together to return this much loved part of our city’s cultural heritage back to working order, as a visitor and education centre for everyone to enjoy.”
Letters are being sent to local residents informing them of the schedule of work and anyone with any concerns can contact Vicki Medhurst, Cultural Development Manager, on 561 8411 to find out more.