Old Deanery under offer to private buyer
NEGOTIATIONS over the purchase of the Old Deanery are taking place with a private buyer after a bidding process that invited offers for the 800-year-old building.
The Diocese of Bath and Wells is selling the Old Deanery on Cathedral Green, which it uses as offices, and moving to Flourish House at Cathedral Park.
One of the bids for the building came from a community interest company made up of people from Wells’ arts and heritage organisations, but despite extensive discussions, its bid has not been taken further, and the offer has now been withdrawn.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: “Following its marketing earlier this year, the Old Deanery is now under offer to a private buyer. As negotiations are continuing, we are not able to give further details at this stage.
“Extensive discussions were held with another offeror, a Wells-based community interest company, but unfortunately it was not able to demonstrate the necessary confidence in its ability to raise the funds needed to purchase the property.
“The Diocese will move its staff to a modern office in Wells in the spring of next year. The move will ensure the diocese is able to support parishes and clergy across Somerset in an easily accessible location with lower maintenance and repair costs going forward.”
The community interest company expressed its disappointment at the failure of its bid. It said in a statement: “This week the Old Deanery Community Interest Company (CIC) was informed by Carter Jonas, one of the agents acting for the Diocese, that it has decided not to proceed with the CIC bid to buy this important Medieval building on Cathedral Green, choosing now to work with another unnamed bidder.
“The CIC is very disappointed to learn of this as only a month ago, having made an unconditional offer close to the asking price, it was the Diocese’s preferred purchaser. Over this time, it has worked extremely hard to identify and negotiate with a local heritage developer, who was willing to provide a significant part of the asking price, and with national funding agencies, who were also keen to lend their support to this exciting community initiative.
“Although it has now formally withdrawn its offer, the CIC remains interested in seeing whether the new preferred bidder is willing to work with the community to achieve its vision for the Old Deanery.”