A milestone for the Maltings - topping off ceremony for multi-million pound arts centre in Wells
PUBLISHED: 17:29 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:31 12 December 2017
A topping out ceremony in Wells has heralded an important milestone in the multi-million pound renovation of its arts and heritage centre.
Work on the Wells Maltings Project started in February and the topping out marked the fixing into place of the highest point of the structure.
Stakeholders, councillors, volunteers and the Wells community joined builders from contractors Robson Construction at the site on Staithe Street to see North Norfolk District Council leader Tom Fitzpatrick start the celebration with light switch on.
A cut-out Christmas tree had been placed at roof height on the scaffolding with lights wrapped around but project manager Simon Daykin joked that everyone should come back after 4pm as it was almost impossible to see them twinkling against the brilliantly blue north Norfolk sky.
He added: “It is a builder’s rite to mark the special moment when a roof is completed.
“But there is still an awful lot of work to be done to get finished inside and launched.”
He said they hoped to start announcing events early next year and a grand opening date.
“We think it will be late spring before we open the doors to this marvellous new building,” he said.
The project bills itself as “north Norfolk’s premier arts and heritage attraction” and Mr Fitzpatrick said it will become a great benefit to Wells and the surrounding area.
“It is not in competition with anything else and will enhance the building to be one of the main attractions for Wells,” he said. “It is in a great position by the harbour and the project team has put a lot of vision and drive into it to bring it forward.
“We believe it will lengthen the tourism year which can only be a good thing. Ninety percent of visitors to Wells come for the day so the more facilities we have will help encourage them to stay longer.”
The £4.8m project has received a £2m grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, which has been matched by partnership funders including Garfield Weston Foundation, Clore Duffield Foundation, Coastal Communities and North Norfolk District Council.
The centre will feature a cinema, live performance space, art gallery and cafe-bar as well as a display of the town’s heritage and history. It will also host the Wells tourist information centre.