A COUNCILLOR is calling for a change in planning laws to ensure historic Bournemouth buildings are preserved for future generations.

Mayor Elect and the borough’s heritage champion Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts said old buildings, such as derelict Throop Mill, on the banks of the River Stour, must be protected.

He told the Daily Echo: “Something must be done when the owners of listed buildings fail to ensure they are restored.”

Since the Grade II listed mill ceased working in 1972 campaigners have been calling for its transformation into a heritage centre.

Ward councillor Ron Whittaker, who has called for repairs to the deteriorating mill for more than 20 years, has now suggested that the council consider pursuing a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

He said: “I am saddened that the mill remains closed.

“My only wish is that the owner could see the massive advantages of transforming this lovely listed building into a tea room, cafe or craft centre.

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

In emailed correspondence to the council’s executive head of property Garry Platt he said: “I think that after some 20 plus years the owners have had enough time to respond to many requests as to what they intend to do with the mill.

“If we don’t get a response (from Haygates) then I will ask the administration to seriously look at a CPO.”

A spokeswoman at Northampton-based Heygates refused to comment on the company’s plans for Throop Mill’s future.