New age travellers were forced to leave land that surrounds Rock Mill, an important listed building, last week by a court order.
Tucked away in The Hollow, Washington, the smock mill that once belonged to composer John Ireland has been left in a decaying state.
For the last few years the site had been occupied by travellers who acted as self-appointed guardians of the landmark.
But Worthing Crown Court released a notice on April 2 ordering the occupants to leave the grounds by April 30.
In the court document, Deputy District Judge Ashley-Smith ruled the ‘defendants must give the claimant possession of land at and in the vicinity of Rock Mill’.
Owned by Biffa Landﬁll since 1997 and used as offices, the three-storey mill has been vacant for two years and subject to serious deterioration.
Bruce Phillips, director of the John Ireland Charitable Trust, who lived in the mill for six months shared his concern for its future.
He said: “I’m really attached to the place, but I was not able to acquire it myself.
“I was there recently and had a long conversation with a traveller. He told me they’d received an eviction court order stating that all grounds must be cleared, which included the mobile homes and structures they’d put up.” Mr Phillips said the travellers had kept the mill secure but now someone else will need to step in and ‘deal with it’.
“It’s in a poor state now,” he added.
The entrance to the Rock Mill site has now been obstructed with a mound of earth and beyond this there are piles of rubbish and pieces of furniture scattered around.
ABiffa representative said:“The ownership of the property is still with Biffa and we will be reviewing our future plans for the property over the forthcoming period.”