Friends of one of Croydon's best known heritage landmarks have welcomed the news the council is to fund a much-needed restoration project.

But work on repairing damage to the outside of Shirley Windmill in Postmill Close will have to wait until the spring so that costs are kept to a minimum.

The secretary of Friends of Shirley Windmill, Tony Scrzypczwk, said he was delighted when the Guardian informed him that funding had been secured for the project on Monday.

He said the group had been waiting some time for news of the restoration money, but expressed concern that by beginning work in the spring it might disrupt the mill's popular open days.

According to Mr Scrzypczwk the mill, which is 150 years old this year, is still safe to visit but requires repainting, possibly damp proofing and other work to improve the condition of the outer walls.

He said: "At least they are providing the money, but really we would have preferred it if they would have done it earlier.

"We start our open days in the spring and this might disrupt those, but I'm sure we'll find a way to work round that as we did when the inside of the mill was being restored."

The windmill was built in the mid 1850s to replace a post mill destroyed by a fire before being abandoned in 1892 and then bought by Croydon Council in the early 1950s.

It is the only surviving windmill in Croydon.

A council spokesman said: "We have secured the funding required for the restoration of the outside of Shirley Windmill, Croydon's only windmill.

"To ensure costs are kept to a minimum on the mill which was built in the mid 1850's, work will start in spring of next year, ensuring delays which bad winter weather can lead to are avoided."