Taxpayers are footing the bill for urgent repair works to be made on the tallest surviving Post Windmill in England after its owner refused to fix it.

Members of Reigate and Banstead Council approved a budget of £37,000 to carry out urgent repairs to the Tadworth Windmill, a Grade II listed building from the 18th century.

According to a council report, “extensive efforts have been made to persuade the owner to take better care of the building”, but it never happened, so the building continued to decline.

Parts of the windmill, such as the tail pole and ladder, have been on the council’s buildings at risk register for 14 years. The main body entered the register five years ago.

The council will now serve an urgent works notice and the works should be carried out and paid by them if the owner fails to do so. The cost of the works will be then recovered from the owner.

Works include the repair of weatherboarding, tail pole and ladder, rotted floor joists, replacement of existing tar layer, and removal of guano and adjacent vegetation where it is damaging the structure. The mill will also be made birdproof.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Where possible the council will use its repair powers to help a building at risk. The proposed repairs to Tadworth Windmill are crucial conservation works that are likely to last well into the future.

“The council will claim costs back from the owner.”