900-year-old Alvingham Watermill has stopped turning

Inset: Mr Davies claims the watermill is not working due to the collapse of Keddington Lock.
Inset: Mr Davies claims the watermill is not working due to the collapse of Keddington Lock.

The owner of an historic watermill in Alvingham is fighting to get it ‘up and running’ after claiming the collapse of a lock on Louth Canal has stopped it working.

Simon Davies currently owns Alvingham Watermill which is Grade II* listed - a rating only given to buildings of ‘special interest’.

Owner of the Grade II* listed building in Alvingham, Simon Davies is fighting to get the watermill  up and running.

Owner of the Grade II* listed building in Alvingham, Simon Davies is fighting to get the watermill up and running.

According to Historic England, only 5.8 per cent of buildings in the UK have the Grade II* status.

Mr Davies stressed that despite the watermill being over 900 years old, it is ‘fully functional’.

But, he said because of the collapse of Keddington Lock earlier this year - which is the only lock on the canal not listed - water levels have plummeted.

He claims that means there isn’t enough water for the watermill to turn.

Mr Davies explained to the Leader: “My parents Phil and Ann bought the mill in 1972 and were very well respected members of the community before they passed away.

“This watermill is a very significant building, and even after all these years is all in good working order.

“But now, due to the collapsed Keddington Lock, the water is not flowing as it should and the water levels have dropped - so the watermill isn’t able to work.”

Mr Davies said he has spoken to the Environment Agency to see if they would repair the lock.

He added: “I really want to work with the EA on this, but at the moment there is confusion as to who actually has full responsibility for the water.

“My parents loved this building, and so do I.

“A watermill without water is taking the heart out of the building.”

Pete Reilly, Operations Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Louth Canal isn’t a navigable waterway, and Keddington Lock doesn’t reduce flood risk, so responsibility for the lock and associated water levels would be a matter for the landowners.

“While we understand the importance of historic structures, we must focus our resources on managing flood risk and looking after the environment.”

Mr Reilly added EA teams have inspected the lock and are satisfied that it is not increasing flood risk, or impacting on the local ecology.”

The EA confirmed it does have ‘permissive powers’, which in theory means they could do work on the water levels.

However, they have ruled any action out at this stage because any issues are not affecting the local environment, or creating a flood risk.

Paula Hunt, secretary of Louth Navigation Trust, believes if Keddington Lock is left as it is, it may cause more problems.

She said: “Due to the collapse of the lock, the water is currently going around the north side of the canal instead of through the middle and is actually starting to erode the north side of the bank.

“Trees have also been taken away as a result.”

Mrs Hunt explained the water in the canal was going through a ‘narrow channel at a quicker rate’, rather than ‘a wider channel at a slower rate’.

She believes if that quicker flow continues, it will cause further damage.

She added: “At this rate, we would possibly have to start a collection to try and get the lock fixed.

“There is so much love for the canal and it would be such a shame if it went into disrepair for no reason.”

MP for Louth and Horncastle, Victoria Atkins has confirmed that she is going to be looking into this matter and will be speaking to the Environment Agency.