In February 2023, Eastleigh Borough Council, which part funded the day-to-day operational costs of Bursledon Windmill, informed Hampshire Cultural Trust of their intention to withdraw their funding from the end of August 2023.
Simultaneously, as part of a project to refurbish and replace the mill sails, Hampshire Cultural Trust commissioned a full health and safety report, the outcome of which was a requirement either to have staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to turn the mill, or to install a new tethering system for the sails. Neither option was financially viable without significant further funding: revenue from admissions, the mill’s shop and small café was not sufficient to plug both the gap made by the withdrawal of funding by Eastleigh Borough Council and the increased staffing levels necessary to fulfil health and safety obligations.
Hampshire Cultural Trust therefore had to consider whether it could continue to operate the mill as a viable visitor attraction and worked over a number of months with partners to explore all options. These partners were Eastleigh Borough Council, Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust (HBPT), which owns the mill, and Hampshire County Council, which leases the mill from HBPT.
These discussions did not result in a sustainable operational model for Bursledon Windmill for the future and as such, Hampshire Cultural Trust sought approval from Hampshire County Council to give notice on the operation of the mill, which was granted in late September 2023. Hampshire Cultural Trust will no longer be responsible for operating the mill with effect from 1 April 2024. The mill is closed as usual for the winter season and will not re-open to the public for visits or special events for the remainder of Hampshire Cultural Trust’s operational responsibility.
As of 14 November 2023, there has been no further decision regarding the long-term future of Bursledon Windmill and if it will continue to be open to the public after 1 April 2024. Hampshire Cultural Trust is continuing to work with HBPT and Hampshire County Council to seek clarity.