THE team which led the revival of a York landmark is looking to change its operation - because of wind.
Ten years of restoration work at Holgate Windmill was completed in 2012 and it has since started producing its own flour, but its current opening times end just as one of the best breezes of the day tends to sweep across the site.
Holgate Windmill Preservation Society has now asked City of York Council to change the mill's permitted opening hours so its sails can take full advantage of the gusts and to keep costs down. If approved, the milling operation would be able to start at 9am and continue until as late as 5pm, 90 minutes longer at both ends of the day than at present.
Since the Grade II-listed mill reopened, it has made flour for the first time since the early 1930s as well as being opened to visitors. Its restoration cost more than £500,000, with support from a lottery grant and City of York Council.
In a statement to council planners, architects PPIY Limited said flour sales would provide a major part of the mill's future income, with milling currently taking place on Fridays. In a statement, the firm said: "Milling by the wind is, of course, entirely dependent on the weather, and experience to date suggests that milling by wind power has been possible for, at most, 50 per cent of this time.
"In particular, we have found a pattern of wind picking up mid-afternoon, just as our current time limits stop us milling. The mill has a pair of electricity-driven stones which can be used if necessary, but these are expensive to operate and the ethos of the mill is to use wind power whenever possible."
PPIY said extending the opening hours would not increase in the number of hours a week the mill operates, but would allow more flexibility over its working times and the chance to "better respond to weather conditions". It said the building's trustees - who are also seeking permission to open the site for "occasional" evening visits between 7pm and 9pm - had not been informed of any noise problems since the mill reopened and most residents had supported it.