We have been informed by the Environment Agency that the covenants on The Old Willow Works will remain for the time being. According to the covenants the property has to be sold to a ‘Not for Profit’ company and this will ensure the building is used for the benefit of the community with a reserved space to house the History Group artefacts and archives.
Update – 24 March – Subsequent to our update on 16th March we now learn there are a number of potential purchasers interesting in buying The Old Willow Works. We are not in a position to say who does and who does not buy the property but we remain very positive for the future of the building and hopeful for a small storage space to save our village heritage.
Update 16/03/2023 – An open meeting took place at Beckingham Village Hall on 14 March at which the future of The Old Willow Works was discussed. There was a very good turnout and everyone unanimously agreed the building should continue as a community use asset. A plan of action was agreed and for all those supporters that wish to submit a letter to the Environment Agency to lobby against the covenants being removed please click on the link to download the Draft letter to the Environment Agency. The letter can be sent by mail or email and both addresses are listed on the draft.
Thank you and happy letter writing!
It is with great sadness that the Willow Works was taken into receivership late in 2022 and is currently for sale. The current owners of the building have gone into liquidation and all their assets have been seized. Beckingham cum Saundby History Group were made aware of the situation only when a chance visit to the Willow Works to collect the Remembrance Day poppies was unscuccessful because the locks had been changed. Since then all History Group artefacts and furniture have had to be removed from the Willow Works and either sold, donated or put into temporary storage. It is through no fault of the village History Group who were given a dedicated room/storage and free use of the building from the Parish Council when the building was first renovated.
This valuable facility for the people of Beckingham and Saundby is looking bleak as is the future for Beckingham cum Saundby History Group as they no longer have a base to store village artefacts which have been donated and collected over many years.
Talks are ongoing.
The Willow Works on Old Trent Road is the only surviving building of what was once one of the main cottage industries of Beckingham. Many villagers were employed both at the Willow Works and from home to help in the willow industry to create items such as baskets, fencing etc.
An earlier building once stood alongside the River Trent by Dog Island and much of the land round about was dedicated to willow growing.
The Old Willow Works has created great interest for its potential to the village of Beckingham. Through grants received from various bodies it has been possible to save the building from total collapse and help to create a multi-functional amenity. The Willow Works has been re-roofed and re-pointed, with new windows and doors and vents in the roof in-keeping with the original style. In addition bat boxes and Barn Owl nestboxes have been installed in the loft area.
The next stage of the Willow Works has created interior display areas for use by the community, stand-alone units available for businesses to rent, an office and storage facilities for the village History Group and a function room for hire for appropriate events. The area outside the building has been landscaped with willow planting, interpretive notice boards, ponds, car park and a picnic area. The north and south boundaries now have maturing native-species hedges to give protection to flora and fauna from the cold easterly winds which can blow across the flood plain.
The following pages follow the Willow Works through from its rich history through the renovation work carried out and to the present day where it is open for business and taking bookings.
Various rooms at The Willow Works are available to hire. These include the Function/Conference room, two exhibition rooms and the outside area. Prices vary depending on room usage. As the Willow Works is a community venue, special rates may apply for local residents.
For directions to the Willow Works using satellite navigation the postcode is DN10 4PY. The OS grid reference is SK795900. Or click here for link to Google Maps. On reaching Beckingham the Willow Works is best reached from the roundabout where the A631 and A620 meet south of Beckingham. Leave this by the road into the village. After less than 200 metres, take the first right into Station Road. This road takes you over a level crossing after which it becomes Old Trent Road and is a single track with passing places. The Willow Works is on the left about 1 km beyond the level crossing. With its long, windowless south-facing wall it is unmissable.