BRIDGWATER Town Council is calling on the local planning authority to make the Bowerings seed mill on the docks a listed building.

At one of its final meetings ahead of the elections, the town council's planning panel voted unanimously to request the listing of the Victorian era building with it's harlequin chimney - the last industrial chimney left in Bridgwater.

Bridgwater historian Miles Peterson explained that The Linseed Oil and Cotton Cake Mill on the north-west corner of the docks was founded in 1869 and the core of the present buildings dates to about then.

"The purpose of the mill was to crush flax in order to extract linseed oil, which had a range of uses, including as a component of oils paints or as a wood preservative," Mr Peterson said.

"The leftover flax mush, called cake, was used as a fertiliser and as animal feed. Initially there were 15 workmen employed, but at the mill’s height of prosperity there were over 70."

Bowerings, the current owners of the mill, started out as a bakery in North Street and took over the building to produce animal feed in 1960.

There have been a number of fires at the mill over the years, the largest in 1892 and most recently in January 2016.

Cllr Brian Smedley , leader of Bridgwater Town Council, said: “Following public concerns about the possible demolition of the chimney and a call by the Civic Society for the Town Council to quickly intervene to safeguard this key bit of our heritage, we brought the partners around the table to start the process.

"While the setting is within a conservation area, the building itself is not listed."

The timescale to get a building listed is approximately four to six months.

The meeting was attended by Sedgemoor District Council's new conservation officer Mark Lidster.