A voluntary group has been given the go-ahead by Lambeth Council to build a £360,000 education centre at a historic windmill.
Brixton Windmill, a 200-year-old operating mill on Blenheim Gardens road, will open a new education centre in summer, built by architecture firm Squire and Partners.
The money for the construction will be provided by Lambeth Council, and once opened it will be entirely run by voluntary organisation Friends of Windmill Gardens, who announced the council’s decision yesterday.
A spokesperson for the group, Dee Byrne, said: “It is meant to be a community facility, somewhere where the young and old alike can come together.
“It is a little bit of history we can all be proud of.”
The building will be used to run workshops for schools and to sell refreshments made using the mill’s own flour to fund the upkeep of the grade II listed building.
It will also be available for use by other community groups in the area.
Friends of Windmill Gardens decided that they needed a new custom built centre when the council cut the funding for school visits to the windmill, meaning they had to find a way to provide their own programs.
Planning was submitted last year and the council approved the £360,000 expenditure in October.
The mill was refurbished in 2011 with lottery, council and community funding and now has almost 2,000 visitors a year.
It is the last of 12 windmills in the Lambeth area and the only operational tower mill in central London continuing to produce flour which is sold to local businesses.
Richard Scroggs, 57, owner of the nearby Old Post Office Bakery, believes the windmill is very important in connecting urban children with their food.
He makes a ‘windmill loaf’ which uses flour from the mill, donating 40p to the mill’s upkeep for every one sold.
He said: “[Friends of Windmill Gardens] took a crumbling windmill and turned it into a focal point for the community.
“This is important in a place like London, which can be very isolating.”
The windmill opens for free tours on March 25.