Plan to make Lytham windmill into a working museum
A famous Lancashire windmill could see its sails turning again after almost a century if a plan to upgrade it into a working museum goes ahead.
Lytham Heritage Group (LHG) has proposed a £500,000 project to refurbish Lytham Windmill and the adjacent former RNLI boathouse.
The windmill has not worked since 1919 and was last refurbished in 1988, hosting displays of Lytham life.
LHG spokesman John Hayfield said the "knock-on effect... will be huge".
The windmill has been a tourist attraction in the town for a number of years, but the LHG has said the refurbishments could double visitor numbers to about 60,000 a year.
The proposal will see the windmill returned to working order and the boathouse converted into a museum dedicated to the 1886 disaster, which saw 27 RNLI crewmen lose their lives trying to rescue the 12 men on board the German ship, Mexico.
Mr Hayfield said that the plan would not only increase numbers to the windmill, but also give an economic boost to the town in general.
He said: "There are a lot of static windmills but very few working ones, and we expect to get visitors from across the country.
"There are five million vehicles that enjoy a clear view of the windmill as they pass along the A584 annually - and they will see the windmill sails revolving.
"The knock-on effect for the wider area will be huge. We hope the windmill and lifeboat house will be the start of a series of heritage trails."
If the plan is approved by Fylde Council, the LHG will make a funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and hopes that the working museum could be open by 2014.
Fylde Council leader Councillor David Eaves said it was "a superb proposal by the Lytham Heritage Group that will massively boost visitor numbers to the area".