The Diocese of Bath and Wells has today (20 March 2019) confirmed that it is to relocate the diocesan offices to Cathedral Park on the outskirts of Wells.
Contracts have been exchanged to purchase Flourish House on the site, currently owned by Aster Communities.
Nick May, Diocesan Secretary, says, “We are delighted to have agreed the purchase of Flourish House with Aster Communities. We can now move forward with our plans for 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.”
The purchase of Flourish House follows a decision taken by Bishops Council – the Trustees of the Diocesan Board of Finance – to relocate from The Old Deanery on Cathedral Green in June 2018. This confirmed an earlier ‘decision in principle’ agreeing the move.
Last June’s decision was based on relocating to new purpose-built offices on Cathedral Park. Before this could be progressed fully, Flourish House became available and the diocese also fully investigated the viability of this new option. Ultimately it was decided that this was the preferred option for the diocese.
“Flourish House is the ideal location for us. It meets all the requirements and aspirations we have for our new offices with the clear advantage that, as an existing building, it represents a significant saving and less risk than a new-build project,” adds Mr May.
The diocese and Aster Communities exchanged contracts yesterday (19 March). On current timetables, the parties are set to complete later this year with Aster moving out and the diocese relocating by early 2020 after work has been completed on an internal re-fit of the building.
Confirmation of the new location means that The Old Deanery will now officially be placed on the market. The diocese announced last month that the sale of the Grade 1 listed building is being managed by local agents, Lodestone Property, working with Carter Jonas with assurances that the sale would be handled sensitively.