Dr Joanne O’Hara is now in post as Wellington Heritage at Risk Manager and will lead the conservation management programme of a number of high profile regeneration projects.
Work will be targeted at the historic former mill buildings – Tonedale and Toneworks – as well as Cornhill in the centre of Wellington and Wellington Monument.
Historic England is funding most of the cost of the post with the balance met by Taunton Deane Borough Council.
Taunton Deane Borough Council in partnership with Historic England has also commissioned consultants Ingham Pinnock Associates, who specialise in working with historic market towns, heritage buildings and local government, to prepare a Regeneration Strategy for Tonedale.
Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, Councillor John Williams, said: “I am delighted with these significant steps forward in the extremely important task of protecting Wellington’s heritage. Dr O’Hara’s expertise together with the Regeneration Strategy means that real progress can be made in preserving Wellington’s heritage, including the nationally important Fox’s mill complex.”
Tonedale and Toneworks are among the best preserved examples of historic textile manufacture in the South West of England.
Tonedale Mill was built in the late 18th century for Fox Bros and was used for wool preparation and yarn spinning. The Toneworks buildings, built in the 1830s by Fox Bros, were used for finishing cloth produced at the mill. It is considered a rare example of a 19th century cloth dyeing and finishing works and still contains the remnants of historic machinery which need protecting and preserving for future generations.
Tonedale Mill has planning permission for conversion of the buildings to apartments. However, the Council is currently addressing unauthorised work carried out at Grade II listed Tonedale House and Grade II* listed Tonedale Mill earlier this year; and is also in the process of preparing an Urgent Works Notice to be served on the main contractor to try and ensure preservation of the historic structure.