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Supporters meet to discuss ideas for struggling Silk Mill
MORE than 100 people turned up to a public meeting to discuss the struggling Whitchurch Silk Mill.
Organised by two residents, the event was held at Whitchurch Parish Hall to give people the chance to share ideas on the mill’s future.
As reported in The Gazette, the mill, in Winchester Street, stopped producing silk after 200 years in December 2011.
The trustees said in a statement that covering the overall annual operating deficit of £80,000 had become a “heavy burden” and that stopping the production of silk was the only way to save it from closure.
Since then, four of the five directors have reportedly quit, and two others have been appointed.
Claire Isbester, who organised the meeting, said: “We were all there to support the mill and give positive ideas. There was no opportunity for people to blame anyone.”
Those at the meeting were asked two questions: What does the mill mean to you? and What would you like to see it doing in the future?
People wrote their suggestions on post-it-notes which were collected up by the organisers, who will collate the information and send it to the borough and county councils, which both help fund the mill. The information will also be sent to the board of directors.
Ms Isbester, who is a Whitchurch Town councillor, said of the meeting: “The mill’s history and heritage were important to people as well as it being the heart of Whitchurch and attracting visitors.
“What people want to see it doing in the future is producing silk for commercial production. That was the most important thing.
“There was a lot of strong feeling about management and communication needing to be improved.”
Ms Isbester said no one knows how the mill got into the dire situation because of a lack of communication with the directors.
She added: “It’s been really difficult to get information and that’s where the feeling about increased communication comes in.”
The Gazette asked Stephen Bryer a week ago for confirmation that the four directors had resigned.
But the manager of the Silk Mill failed to respond before we went to print.
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