North West Wales

Concern grows over sale of Anglesey heritage sites

Llynnon Mill
Image caption Llynnon Mill

A working windmill, two Iron Age roundhouses and one of Britain's oldest courthouses could be sold by Anglesey council.

Concern has been voiced over the plans, with historians saying the authority is "selling off the family silver".

Beaumaris courthouse and Victorian jail and the Melin Llynnon windmill have been earmarked for possible sale.

The authority said it wanted to "safeguard the sites" set against its own "growing financial constraints".

Beaumaris mayor Jason Zalot said he was "very, very scared" about developers taking over the jail and courthouse, although the council has said it will listen to ideas from any interested party.

"We do not want to see them turned into a theme park or an amusement arcade. They are a very important part of the Beaumaris' history, and an important tourist attraction."

Mr Zalot said Beaumaris Town Council intended to create a group in order to run the sites.

"We do not know who we are up against. Our concern is that the council will just sell to the highest bidder," he added.

£3.5m saving

The sale has been announced as part of a £3.5m saving from next year's budget.

Dr Ken Roberts, of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society, said it was important the council found someone who had an interest in the history of Wales.

"What concerns me is that Anglesey county council is selling off the family silver when they should really hang on to them all."

Anglesey council's head of learning, Delyth Molyneux, explained: "All proposals which address the long-term financial sustainability of the sites while providing vibrant, dynamic visitor offers will be considered carefully.

"Our main aim is to develop a new and sustainable business model, or models, to safeguard the future of these sites, and protect and preserve the island's culture and heritage."

Proposals are being sought from town and community councils, social enterprises, businesses, trusts and other organisations.

The council said it will launch a consultation before any final decision is made.

Image copyright Anglesey Council
Image caption Beaumaris courthouse

Beaumaris courthouse

Built in 1614, Beaumaris courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in Britain. Although alterations were made in the 19th Century, its original character remains the same.

Throughout the centuries the courthouse has witnessed various cases from petty misdemeanours to murder. Visitors can walk through the large rectangular courtroom, stand in the original dock and view the grand jury room.

Image copyright Anglesey Council
Image caption Beaumaris gaol

Beaumaris Gaol

This Victorian jail was built in 1829. The gaol apparently features the only original tread wheel in situ in Britain and a gibbet is still fixed to the outer wall.

Visitors can walk along the dimly lit corridors and explore the old cells and places of punishment. They can even visit the punishment cell and the condemned cell.

Image copyright Anglesey Council
Image caption The roundhouses at Llynnon Mill

Llynnon

This is the only working windmill in Wales. Built in 1775, Melin Llynnon operates as an agricultural museum, and produces stone-ground wholemeal flour using organic wheat.

The site also has two Iron Age roundhouses providing an insight of the life of farmers more than 3,000 years ago.

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