Is this former mill Preston’s most unwanted building?
The Grade II listed Craggs Mill, also known as The Windmill, has been up for sale for nearly a year with no takers.
Now its price has been slashed and it is being offered for auction at a knock down price of £60,000.
Situated on Craggs Lane, off Moor Lane, not far from the city centre, it is the city’s only surviving windmill, albeit minus its sails.
Last February property agents Reeds Rains were seeking £135,000 plus at auction for the 18th century property, located in the heart of the city university’s student residential area.
The £75,000 drop in the asking price comes despite interest being expressed in turning it into a cafe or a gallery. But agents say courage is needed to take the project further as major work would be needed to renovate the property’s interior.
Reeds Rains Negotiator Rebecca Ryding said: “There has been a lot of interest. It’s a project for somebody - it’s just a shell inside really. It’s for someone to take it on as a bit of a challenge.”
The agent’s property specification notes: “This Preston landmark is not one to be missed. Set in the heart of a fantastic investment area of Preston. The windmill was built as part of a corn mill, this is the last remaining structure of its kind in Preston.”
Any buyer would need to get planning permission for a change of use, as previous permission to convert it into two luxury apartments lapsed.
Current owner businessman Jonathan Ruff had wanted to turn it into a headquarters for his firm, until building and renovation costs made the project untenable. The mill was already derelict when he bought it.
Built in 1760, it lost its sails in 1880 and has since served a variety of roles - from a piano workshop to a garage and an overflow prison. During the war it was used as a cinema.
Reeds Rains say viewing is essential and stress the mill will be sold by “modern auction” - bids are placed and the buyer pays a reservation fee of £6,000 and has a set time to raise the necessary finance.
Aidan Turner-Bishop of Preston Historical Society said: “By law it has to be preserved. It was first listed in June 1950 as the only surviving example of a windmill in the town and one of the few to survive in the county.”
He noted that the area would have been suitably windy, receiving the prevailing wind from the Fylde and that the land on which the nearby university library stands had been called Windmill Field.
• The city and neighbouring Fylde were once known as “windmill land” because of the high number of windmills located here.