New funding boost for Wells Maltings

An artist's impression of the completed Maltings

An artist's impression of the completed Maltings - Credit: Archant

Work on the next phase of the £4.5m redevelopment of Wells Maltings gets under way in the New Year.

The complex will include a heritage centre, cafe, tourist information centre and extended theatre

The complex will include a heritage centre, cafe, tourist information centre and extended theatre - Credit: Archant

The landmark heritage and arts project has just been awarded a £50,000 grant from the government's Coastal Revival Fund.

Project development manager Becky Jefcoate said the money would be put towards converting and extending the early 19th Century building, off Staithe Street.

'It's progressing really well,' she said. 'We're just preparing the ground at the moment for the archaeology, which will happen in the New Year.

'Then we're going to demolish the tourist information centre to put the foundations in for the main extension.

'we're all really excited. It's great after five years to get to this point.'

Miss Jefcoate said the trust was now deciding what would go inside the heritage centre and exhibition space.

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'We've got the momney to go ahead with the building but we're still fund raising for the fit out,' she added.

The project aims to extend and transform the building, which will host a new heritage, learning, community and arts centre, along with the town's tourist information centre and a cafe.

Old and new parts of the complex will be connected by a spectacular glazed stairway.

The 68-seat Granary Theatre will also be enlarged, so it can accommodate larger audiences and attract a wider range of performers.

The project is expected to create or safeguard up to 95 jobs, which will make it one of the biggest single employers in Wells when it is finished.

It hopes to turn the Maltings into one of the town's largest attractions, which will draw visitors and offer entertainment all year round.

Part of the project - the Sackhouse building, in nearby Jicklings Yard - has already been completed. It's now used for office space, meetings and exhibitions.

Work on the Maltings is expected to take around a year.