‘For Sale’ sign goes up at Old Deanery
THE Old Deanery has gone up for sale with an asking price of £2.5 million.
A ‘For Sale’ sign appeared outside the historic Grade I listed building on Cathedral Green in the third week of May.
Prospective buyers have until September 12 to submit their bids – and local estate agents Lodestone Property, who are marketing it, say that there has already been interest.
“We’ve already had approaches,” said managing partner Cathy Morris-Adams.
“It is one of the most prestigious buildings in the city, if not Somerset.”
Originally built as the home of the Dean of Wells 800 years ago, The Old Deanery is currently used as diocesan office accommodation for the Diocese of Bath and Wells, where more than 50 staff work. They will be moving to Flourish House at Cathedral Park once Aster Communities move out, expected to be in early 2020.
Lodestone say that potential new uses for The Old Deanery include residential, commercial, care and hotel/leisure, subject to planning and the necessary consents.
There has been speculation about it becoming an art gallery, or a mixed-use gallery, cafe and residential development.
Tenders will be considered for their suitability by the Bishop’s Council.
“This is a unique opportunity to breathe new energy into an under-utilised building whilst continuing to celebrate its architecture, elegance, durability and status within the city of Wells,” said Cathy.
“Subject to planning, the building has tremendous potential and is suitable for a variety of uses, which in turn could support and have a positive impact on the local economy.
Wells benefits from being a popular tourist destination, thanks to its heritage, array of historical sites and proximity to other regional landmarks, and The Old Deanery occupies an excellent location in the heart of the city.
“We expect to see strong demand from operators and developers looking to invest a piece of history whilst creating a viable solution to ensure its preservation and future success.”
Lodestone, who are being assisted in the sale by Carter Jonas, says that The Old Deanery comprises approximately 18,000 sq ft of space over three floors.
The property has undergone much expansion and remodelling over the ages to accommodate its various uses, they say, including the addition of a number of wings and a gatehouse. The best preserved and most obviously medieval part of the building dates back to the late 15th century.
The property is also known for its ancient grounds which includes the William Turner Garden – a hidden Tudor-style garden dating back to the 16th century.
Nick May, Diocesan Secretary at the Diocese of Bath and Wells, said: “We understand the building’s significance and the fondness in which it is held by local people, as well as the staff who work here. The diocese represents the Church of England in Somerset and as a church organisation, we take our responsibility of care for our community very seriously.
“From the beginning of this process we have been committed to ensuring that any sale of The Old Deanery is approached and handled sensitively.”
The part of the Rib Car Park owned by the Diocesan Board of Finance is not being marketed alongside The Old Deanery. Options concerning its future will be considered at a future date.