Heritage project given six figure boost in Wells
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A long-running project to transform historic maltings buildings in Wells has been given a £610,000 boost from the Government's Coastal Communities Fund.
Part of the £3m Wells Maltings Project, which has been running for several years, aims to transform the 19th Century Maltings building into an integrated arts, heritage and learning space with a major expansion of The Granary Theatre, a new café and tourist information centre.
It has also seen the Sackhouse building, in Jicklings Yard, turned into a mixed-use community-run building with office space, hot desking and conference facilities.
Those involved in the development say it will create and safeguard around 95 jobs and provide space for learning, while also serving as an attractive all year round tourist destination.
Wells is one of ten coastal towns to receive a share of more than £8.5m in government funding, creating tourist attractions, regenerating historic sites and providing new flood defences across the country.
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Becky Jefcoate, Wells Maltings project director said: 'We're absolutely delighted that the Coastal Communities Fund has shown us this support. The Maltings has given Wells-next-the-Sea a place for live entertainment, public meetings and community activities for more than 30 years. This support will help us to preserve it for another century and provide our community and visitors with an exciting new cultural destination.
'The project will create a vibrant focus for the town and its community with many opportunities for learning, volunteer involvement and jobs.'
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The Trust has also put in a bid for £1.84m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and expects to find out if it has been successful later this year.
As part of the bid, the trust needed to raise a further £1m by the end of the year.
Coastal communities minister, Penny Mordaunt, said: 'Our Coastal Communities Fund is bringing about some really innovative projects around the country and schemes that will make a big difference to those towns affected by the winter storms.
'Seaside towns are a strong part of this country's heritage and have huge potential to create new businesses that provide jobs.
'They are an important part of the Government's long-term economic plan and we are determined to help these communities reach their true potential.'