The Bishop’s Barn and Recreation Ground is returned to the City of Wells

By Mendip District Council

5th Aug 2022 | Local News

A new chapter has begun for the Bishop's Barn and Recreation Grounds, as Mendip District Council transfers the trusteeship to Wells City Council, after 48 years of dedicated responsibility.

Wells City Council have taken the reins of the barn, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is Grade I listed, and has been valued by the people of Wells since the fifteenth century.

Mendip has been steadfastly committed to returning the site to the city and has delivered on its promise made in 2019, led by the Leader and Cabinet, for residents to once again embrace their much-loved barn.

The District Council has made significant investments over the years to maintain the site, including fully replacing the play area in 2016, refurbishing the bandstand and repairing the barn, including refreshing its existing kitchen and toilets.

The City Council will receive a dowry as Mendip passes across the Trust Fund of circa £525,000 solely for improving the Bishop's Barn, as well as a one-off final payment of £30,000 to cover operational costs.

Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council, celebrated the long-awaited transfer of this ancient moment, by handing over the key to the Bishop's Barn to The Mayor of Wells, Cllr Stewart Cursley. They were joined at the site for this occasion by the Mayoress, Mrs June Cursley, Lead Councillor for Wells City Council's Bishop's Barn subcommittee, Cllr Sarah Powell, Wells District Councillors and Mendip Officers.

Cllr Wyke said: "I'm excited and pleased that this well-loved asset has been returned to the people of Wells.

"After many years of perseverance, Mendip has kept its promise and we are delighted to be transferring this monument to Wells City Council.

"I know the Wells community will cherish and love this barn and will protect it for generations to enjoy."

Mayor of Wells, Cllr Cursley, said: "This is great news for Wells. After almost 50 years, the Bishop's Barn and Recreation Ground are being returned to the control of Wells City Council, who are committed to the upkeep and improvement of this vital green space in the heart of Wells.

"There is a lot of work to be done to the wonderful historic building, to enable it to be used for the benefit of the people of Wells, who will be fully consulted at every stage of the process.

"We all look forward to the day when we can use the Bishop's Barn once again, and we will endeavour to enhance its potential and value to the city."

The Bishop's Barn is known as 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.

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