RESTORATION work on Throop Mill has got under way again almost four decades after the historic building’s machinery ground to a halt.

Since the grade II listed building, on the banks of the River Stour, ceased working in 1972 campaigners have been calling for its transformation into a heritage centre.

Following representations from Bournemouth civic leaders and Christchurch borough council’s conservation officer Melanie Sutton the Environment Agency agreed to carry out repairs to the sluice gates to enable the mill to continue to control the river flow.

Work started last autumn but was halted due to the weather. The Environment Agency has now returned to the site to install a cofferdam and commence much-needed stonework repairs.

Cllr Ron Whittaker, who has campaigned for repairs to the deteriorating mill for many years, said he had visited the site to find that all the hatches were fully covered in preparation for repair work.

He told the Daily Echo: “I am delighted with the progress but saddened that the mill still remains closed. My only wish now is that the owner could see the massive advantages of transforming this lovely listed building into a tea room, café or craft centre.

“Visitors could have the chance to see this beautiful building, which retains much of its original machinery, restored to its former glory.”