Update on future of Thwaite Watermill: Thwaite Mills

08 Mar 2024

Update on future of Thwaite Watermill

Museums and galleries Arts

At meeting of full council on Wednesday, February 21, members gave approval to proceed with proposals which will help meet the unprecedented financial challenges facing the authority.

This included proposals to end the council’s lease at Thwaite Watermill, which has been subject to public consultation.

Whilst the final decision has not yet been taken to surrender the lease, Thwaite Watermill will provisionally close to the public as a Leeds Museums and Galleries attraction from April 1.

Thwaite Watermill is open to the general public during weekends and school holidays only, and during term time for booked groups and school visits only, so the proposed date of closure is not expected to have a significant impact on visitors.

The council will honour all existing bookings until October 2024 and will continue to work closely with site owners the Canal & River Trust and other stakeholders on any transition arrangements. The proposed closure and surrender of the lease will be published as a key decision and subject to call-in by elected members.

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “The council does not take any decisions affecting our visitor attractions lightly. However, the financial pressures we are now facing have forced us to look at options which would never have previously been considered.

“Ending the lease on Thwaite allows us to balance the urgent and unavoidable need to make cost savings with continuing to provide a diverse, high quality, accessible experience for our visitors at Leeds Museums and Galleries’ other eight sites, all of which are owned by Leeds City Council."



  • Ending the lease on Thwaite is projected to save the council in the region of £660-756k over the next five years.
  • The council’s lease of Thwaite Watermill was due to end in 2030.
  • Thwaite a site which currently has low visitor numbers: 11,114 in 2022.

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team