WELLINGTON'S industrial heritage could be at the heart of a tourist boom.

Ambitious plans are afoot to restore the former Fox Bros site at Tone Mill and promote it as an exciting new heritage attraction of international importance.

The cloth mill is on the listed buildings at risk register and still contains all the original machinery, 100 per cent still intact.

It was revealed at Taunton Deane Council's meeting on Tuesday that progress has been made towards giving new life to Tone Mill and a feasibility study is set to be commissioned.

Taunton Deane principal planner Ian Ayre is at the heart of negotiations to bring the project to fruition.

"It's very exciting," he said. "It could help to secure the future of Fox Bros and create an important visitor attraction."

The company's wet finishing works has attracted the attention of an organisation called Regeneration Through Heritage, part of the Prince's Foundation, based in London.

"What they specialise in is trying to find new uses for old industrial buildings and they have been involved in mill regeneration schemes throughout the country," said Mr Ayre.

The regenerated site would be dual purpose - a working mill first and foremost, with tourism and educational visitors drawn to the unique facility.

Land adjoining the River Tone would be turned into nature reserves and out-buildings used to house restaurant facilities and business related to the textiles industry.

Deane tourism boss Cllr Norman Cavill said the mill is a site "of European importance" and a rarity outside northern England.