Losing our heritage is nothing new
It’s another sad day for our built heritage.
We are about to say farewell to Springfield Mill, part of Maidstone’s industrial landscape for more than 200 years.
Maidstone’s planners have attempted to salvage something for future generations by insisting that some of the listed parts of the buildings be preserved - the chimney and the former rag room, which is to be converted to community use.
The developers of the site, Redrow, seem committed to being as loyal to the site’s history as possible, but experiences at other historic buildings in the county are not promising.
Over in Hadlow, the owner of the 1830s folly tower bought the property after a largely publicfinanced £4m restoration, with the promise it would be opened to the public 28 days a year.
He is now selling the tower on having never allowed pubic access.
Sadly we already have the example of Hayle Mill in Tovil.
When PJ Livesey converted the listed paper mill to housing in 2008, the company signed a Section 106 agreement with Maidstone council and English Heritage (as Historic England was then known) that it would create a heritage area within the building for use as a museum on the mill’s history which would be open to the public for a minimum of 20 days.
The vacant building is there, but it was never properly fitted out and in the subsequent 10 years it has never once been opened to the public.
Despite protests from locals, neither Maidstone Borough Council nor Historic England has shown any interest in enforcing the condition of the agreement.