Councillor Adrian I’Anson and WIN member Paddy O’Hagan have formed the Wells Community Interest Company, with plans to buy The Old Deanery and convert it into an art gallery, community centre, a restaurant and café, plus some residential accommodation. Adrian and Paddy have been posting updates regularly in Wells Voice and other papers. The latest news is that negotiations are still ongoing with the Diocese to buy the building, which has not yet been sold.
All are agreed that the social benefits flowing from community use would be positive for Wells and everybody living in this great city. Interestingly, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on selling off Church buildings is supporting the CIC, as is Lord David Blunkett. Wells is not alone – we are in touch with several groups across England who are also trying to buy Church property at affordable prices. It must make sense to balance social benefit against the highest price.