Following confirmation earlier this year that the Diocese of Bath and Wells is to relocate its offices from The Old Deanery in Wells to Flourish House on the outskirts of the city, the Grade 1 listed building is now on the market, with bids invited by 12 September.
Lodestone Property, based in Bruton, Somerset, were chosen to market the property due to their experience and in-depth knowledge of the local area, plus an appreciation of the impact that the sale could have on the city and people of Wells. Details can be found on the agent’s website.
Nick May, Diocesan Secretary at the Diocese of Bath and Wells says, “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.”
Cathy Morris-Adams, Managing Partner of Lodestone Property says, “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.
“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.”
The diocese exchanged contracts with Aster Communities which currently occupies Flourish House in 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.
“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,” says Mr May.
“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,” he adds.