Pride but disappointment as bid to raise funds to save Windmill falls short

September 07 2020
Pride but disappointment as bid to raise funds to save Windmill falls short

The crowdfunding campaign to save the Windmill as a pub has fallen short of its target figure, despite a last-minute influx of investors.

by Marcus Stone

The future for the Windmill as a pub now looks more uncertain than ever and a revised planning application to turn the building into flats is due to be considered.  
The Save The Windmill campaign needed to raise £300,000 to buy The Windmill from its owner Mike Cranney, but fell short despite raising a significant figure of £170,480 from more than 400 investors.
Commenting on the news, Miriam Venner, chair of the steering group, said: “We are extremely proud of our campaign and the fact that the community rallied behind us in such large numbers. The reality is that the current economic climate is just too uncertain for many people and what might have been possible a year ago is now a victim of the pandemic.
“We have been amazed by the £170,480 we did raise from 428 investors. This is an incredible amount of money and an incredible number of people. 
"Every one of these investors believed that The Windmill could be saved and was prepared to delve into their own pockets to support the cause.”
Some investors doubled their investments on the last day to try to reach the target amount. One of these, Roland Oliver, a semi-retired actor who has featured in Casualty and King Lear at the Tobacco Factory, said:“Both myself and my son had invested and, like many others, we were disappointed to hear that the crowdfunding hadn’t been successful.
“I moved to Windmill Hill from Wiltshire around six years ago and the pub was definitely a factor in choosing the area. I used it regularly and hoped it could have a good future as a pub.  With the delays in planning hopefully there may still be time to interest a brewery or other investor in buying it as a pub.”
Speaking to the South Bristol Voice, Mike Cranney, owner of the Windmill said: “The landscape has changed significantly, due to Covid-19, since I first held discussions with the community group about selling the Windmill. Having served the local community for 15 years I would have loved to have sold it as a pub, and would still love to, however the chances of being able to do so now seem slim. The planning application will probably not be considered until mid-September and my main concern is getting change of use so that business rates are not being charged. If the pub had still been open it would have been eligible for a Covid-19 business grant."