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Save the Old Deanery!

Did you know that the Old Deanery on Cathedral Green is on sale? If so, do you know what’s happening now? That there are rumoured negotiations for a private buyer to buy it from the Diocese, in preference to the Community bid?

We would like your support in saving it.

Wells is a marvellous city to live in and we can be justly proud of its extraordinary historic buildings. The Old Deanery on Cathedral Green is hidden behind tall walls. Inside is a magnificent 15 century house, various outbuildings and the remarkable 16 century Turner Herb Garden. With the Cathedral, Vicars Close and the Bishop’s Palace, the Old Deanery completes the famous group of Mediaeval buildings that attract visitors from all over the World. The Diocese has moved to modern offices so the building is now empty, vulnerable and urgently needs a new role.

What should we do? In partnership with a renowned local heritage developer, a group of us have been working on a plan to buy the building and garden to benefit Wells and the Mendip area and boost their economic future. As a start we have offered a substantial cash price to the Diocese together with a share in future profits (the required refurbishment costs for a Grade 1 building will be much greater than this, so we are agreeing to take on a substantial liability). As yet, they have not accepted this offer; rather they are rumoured to be negotiating terms with a private buyer for the property to attract the highest price. Charity Commission Guidance allows a charity to at a less than best price if its surveyor advises that the overall offer is the best that can reasonably be obtained, So the Diocese could sell it to us even if our bid is not the highest, by taking into account the full value of a community bid benefitting both Wells and the Church’s other heritage assets.

The Old Deanery, Wells
Some supporters launch the campaign in front of the Old Deanery (photo courtesy of Philip Welch)

 

The Old Deanery, Wells, banner
The banner on the Shepton/Wells road near Wells

 

The Old Deanery stall at Wells Market which attracted 198 signatories to the Petition
The “Save the Old Deanery” banner on the Blue School bridge in Wells

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