A BUILDING used to store ships’ biscuits for the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars is to get a new lease of life.

Chapel Mills, at American Wharf, features on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register for 2011, published today.

Yet owners the Turnstone Group want the landmark building on the Itchen riverfront to return to the heart of the community.

Plans are in place to restore the site and convert it into housing and office units, which would see people living and working at the site, off Marine Parade, again.

Built in 1781, Chapel Mills was the third steam mill ever to be constructed in England. Now, it is the last early generation steam mill of its kind in the country.

It supplied the Royal Navy with ships’ biscuits during the American War of Independence and then the Napoleonic Wars. Now, with the steam mill, bakehouse and grain store still intact, it is the last example standing.

Kevin White, historic environment team leader at Southampton City Council, said: “Chapel Mills is an outstanding building which reflects the importance of Itchen waterfront to the city. We are delighted with the proposals to convert the building sensitively to residential use. We hope it will kick-start the regeneration of the whole waterfront area.”