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New plans for Maltings

PUBLISHED: 15:52 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:15 07 July 2010

NEW life could be breathed into the historic Maltings community building close to the quayside at Wells.

The ambitious proposals could see the landmark building transformed, with the creation of an enlarged theatre and museum.

NEW life could be breathed into the historic Maltings community building close to the quayside at Wells.

The ambitious proposals could see the landmark building transformed, with the creation of an enlarged theatre and museum. For years it has been felt that the building, which is well used by local organisations and groups, is in need of a major updating.

Now long-term proposals have been put on the table for a radical overhaul of the historic structure. The Community Association holds it on a long lease from North Norfolk District Council.

Plans for the Maltings, which, in addition to a small theatre and auditorium, currently has a large meeting room and bar on the ground floor and a set of large rooms on the first floor, include a museum with research facility, a café and an up-dated and enlarged theatre and auditorium. There is a massive beamed roof space where the

new theatre might be located.

The Maltings, a Listed building, was one of a number of properties in Wells which was the focus of discussions at a meeting on Monday when North Norfolk district councillors and officers met town councillors and community organisations represen-tatives to look at the future of the town and use of its public buildings.

A Times reporter who attended the meeting at Wells Community Hospital was asked to leave because it was not considered to be a public meeting. Those present felt their discussions could not be conducted in an “open and frank manner” if a representative of the press was in attendance.

In a statement issued after the meeting by Sheila Oxtoby, the district council's strategic director for finance, it was pointed out the meeting was for local groups and partnerships to “share their ideas, discuss aspirations for the town and look at potential projects to jointly work together on to bring benefits to the community”.

The meeting had been organised by the district council as part of its district-wide Asset Portfolio review.

The council is keen to address the “historic lack of investment in its assets in Wells”. It is hoping to work in partnership with the town's organisations to secure investment that maximise best use of its assets while meeting the needs of the community

Among the presentations was one by the Wells Area Partnership, which had recently conducted a community consultation exercise in the town.

40pc of the residents responded to the survey which looked at affordable housing, car parking, community aspirations and quality of life.

It was agreed by those present that a working group be set up to commission a piece of work using the results of the public consultation and proposals of the Community Association as a first step in taking a “holistic view of potential development in Wells”.

Ms Oxtoby said in the statement: “The working group will aim to develop a project or a series of projects that not only rationalise, invest in and develop district council-owned assets, but more importantly, the needs of the community that will in turn support the town's longer term sustainability.”

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