Talks underway to hand Recreation Ground and Bishops Barn back to Wells
Mendip District Council have begun transfer talks with their City Council colleagues in Wells to hand back the Bishops Barn and Recreation Ground facilities.
Exploratory discussions are now underway between the two parties, with Mendip offering Wells City Council a three-year lease for the day-to-day management of the site. Mendip hopes an agreement can be completed this spring.
Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: "Devolving things to the community is the direction of travel. These are two precious assets, and there is an assumption the City Council will move forward and get the governance right.
"There's a lot of details to go through, but we are confident, with suitable safeguarding assurances in place, that the three-year lease will enable a smooth transition.
"The Bishops Barn has such potential for community events. This move could see it increase in use, and thrive and flourish in local hands. We recognise it's what the community in Wells wants."
The Wells Recreation Ground is a public open space close to the Bishops Palace. It has a bandstand, Bowling Green, toilet block, and play area. The 15th century Great Barn sits within the recreation ground, and is one of only 200 Great Barns remaining in the UK.
The medieval Barn and the land around it, was gifted to the citizens of Wells for their enjoyment and recreation in Victorian times under the then direction of the City's aldermen. Local government reorganisation meant the newly created Mendip District Council was handed control of the Wells Recreation Ground and Bishops Barn in 1974 and became the sole trustee when the 'Wells Recreation Ground' charity was formed in 1982. The Wells Recreation Ground Trust Committee was established in 2013 and given delegated powers by the trustee to manage the day-to day operations of the facility.