Wells' Old Deanery and The Rib car park to be sold

June 22 2018
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THE Old Deanery in Wells and The Rib car park are to be sold.

The Diocese of Bath and Wells has confirmed that the diocesan offices are to relocate from Cathedral Green to an alternative site on the outskirts of the city.

An announcement by the diocese says that the decision was made earlier this week by members of the Bishop’s Council, the Trustees of the Diocesan Board of Finance. This group is responsible for the strategic and financial operations of the organisation, which supports the 182 church schools and 560 churches, their clergy, leaders and congregations across Somerset. 

The news follows an earlier ‘in-principle’ decision to move, the case for which was subject to further due diligence with thorough analysis of all available options and costings before being brought back for a final decision on Tuesday, June 19, the statement continues.

Announcing the decision Bishop Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, said: “Our diocesan office and the people who work there support the life and mission of the churches, schools and communities across Somerset, where people are responding to God’s love for them by sharing that story and that love with others. This decision has been taken prayerfully so that we might serve those communities more effectively.”

Nick May, Diocesan Secretary, said: “We first began to look at options for diocesan office accommodation when it became increasingly clear that, despite the rich history of The Old Deanery, its location and the fondness in which we hold it, the building was not functioning effectively as a modern, welcoming office and meeting space, due to lack of investment.

“Action needed to be taken. The Bishop’s Council decision means that we can provide an excellent working environment for staff and enhanced facilities to support the work of our parishes and schools across the diocese, in a building that will serve our diocesan community well into the future.”

Plans for the new 16,000 sq ft, purpose-built offices comprise meeting rooms and a spacious, openly accessible area on the ground floor, with staff work space and offices designed to support activity-based working on the first floor. 

Proceeds from the sale of The Old Deanery and The Rib car park will offset costs of the new build project, the diocese says. This capital project will not be funded by parishes through the Parish Share, it adds.

The Grade I listed Old Deanery building was originally built as a home for the Dean of Wells 800 years ago.