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    08 February 2022

    Bishop’s Barn and Wells Recreation Ground

    Bishop’s Barn and Wells Recreation Ground

    PRESS RELEASE - 08.02.22

    Mendip set to transfer ancient asset to Wells community

    The historic Bishop’s Barn and Wells Recreation Ground are to be returned to the City of Wells.

    At a meeting of Mendip District Council’s Cabinet last night (Monday 7th February), members approved the transfer of trusteeship of the Wells Recreation Ground charity to Wells City Council. At transfer, Mendip District Council will no longer have any legal or financial responsibility for the Trust.

    Changing the governance of the charity is legally complex, and the process has taken many months to complete. However, subject to Charity Commission authorisation, the move means Wells City Council are all set to become the new ‘caretakers’ of the Bishop’s Barn and Wells Recreation Ground, located in the heart of the city.

    Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “Talks about the possible transfer of this Scheduled Ancient Monument go back as far as May 2019. Finally we are confident we have ensured a sustainable future for this site, as an income-generating community venue. 

    “We need to ensure it is loved, cherished, used and repaired so that it’s still standing there for another 1,000 years.

    “We should be very mindful that we are but caretakers in the life of these treasured assets.”

    Mendip previously agreed a budget of up to £5,000 to cover legal costs involved in transferring the trusteeship. The Trust Fund of circa £525,000 capital money is included in the transfer and this is solely to be used to improve the Bishop’s Barn. In addition, a one-off payment of £30,000 will also be made to the Trust by Mendip, which is equivalent to six years of average income from 6 car parking spaces in South Street Car Park. After the transfer, Mendip District Council will continue to own, operate, and maintain the car park as part of its normal operations.

    Bishops Barn is known a ‘Great Barn’ and is one of only 200 remaining in the UK. It is protected as a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument of national significance. Wells Recreation Ground is a public open space with a bandstand, bowling green, toilet block, children's play area, and an informal kick-about space.

    The site was gifted in two parts to the citizens of Wells for community activity in 1887 and 1897. Local government reorganisation in 1974 saw the newly created Mendip District Council handed responsibility for looking after these assets.

    Cllr Wyke added: “I do believe that in years to come, the City of Wells will come to realise just how significant and important this transfer is. I am sure they are as excited as me to have these much-loved assets returned to them.

    “I am absolutely delighted, and I thank all those who have finally helped make this happen.”


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