A WHITCHURCH tourist spot has been shortlisted for a prestigious industry award.

Whitchurch Silk Mill is one of five nominees in the Building Conservation category for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) 2019 Awards, South East.

The event takes place on Thursday, 16 May at Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

The Mill embarked on a £1.36million project in 2016 to repair and conserve the site buildings, improve the visitor experience and ensure the future of silk weaving in Whitchurch.

It was finished in September last year.

“The Preserving the Fabric project has secured the future for silk weaving at the mill by creating an inspiring and beautiful place to visit and learn about its significant past,” said mill director Sue Tapliss.

“The new welcome building hosts a destination café and gift shop which will help us to become self-sustaining by 2025.

“The restoration and access improvements in the mill have improved the visitor experience and we can now look forward to delighting visitors for another 200 years.”

The project also included the installation of a new lift, enabling full access to the historic machinery on the second floor for the first time.

Landscape improvements have also seen new widened bridges built as well as an external deck looking out on the River Test.

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant was used to partially fund the project, with the remainder coming from trusts, charities, foundations and private donations.

Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry said: “The Whitchurch Silk Mill is a nationally-important historic building that has been sensitively conserved and enhanced for visitors.”

The Mill is one of two council-designed projects to have been shortlisted by RICS for its annual awards. The Lookout at Lepe Country Park, in the New Forest, has also received recognition.

Cllr Perry, commenting on the two nominations, added: “To have two such different buildings both shortlisted for these prestigious awards is testimony to the impressive range of skills and specialist knowledge that our architects and designers are bringing to Hampshire’s public attractions.”