Southern Malting Saved for Community Arts
The vision of a small group of locals, to transform Ware’s Southern Malting into a community arts hub is set to become reality after East Herts Council agreed to lease the historic building to Ware Arts Centre, rather than sell it to private developers.
The decision follows a two year campaign to save the local landmark which had been put up for sale by the district council.
Large numbers of local residents got behind the call to #KeepWareCreative by signing petitions, attending public events, leafleting, and decorating postcards to send to councillors.
The enthusiastic response the Southern Maltings Community Group (SMCG) received from local residents, schools and businesses played a key part in the success of this grass roots campaign, as did the backing received from Mayor Phyllis Ballam, Ware Town Council, Hertfordshire Regional College and broadcasters Lord Melvyn Bragg and Ant Anstead.
Huge credit must also go to East Herts Council for making such a far-sighted decision.
Southern Malting Community Group
The Southern Malting Community Group (SMCG) formed in 2014 in response the proposed commercial marketing and development of the Southern Malting, a building in the heart of Ware. The group consists of residents and professionals from around the Ware area who felt that the building uniquely reflected the town’s historical identity and wanted to preserve the building for the community.
The SMCG successfully campaigned for the building to be granted Community Asset status, pending a suitable proposal for how the building can benefit the community.
During their campaign, the SMCG were overwhelmed by the number of letters of support. Among them, the Ware Town Council (who have pledged £10,000 start up funding), several local schools, the Acting Head of Department of Creative Arts and Enterprise at Herts Regional College, the Chairman of U3A.
The SMCG has a fully-funded business plan, architectural drawings, 3D model and they created a campaign video during their campaign. The video can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DksaoEHW3Qo
The Southern Malting building is part of the town's industrial heritage, and they group are excited about bringing the malting back to life. It’s fitting that the last publicly owned example of the maltings that brought prosperity to Ware hundreds of years ago will once again benefit the community.
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Southern Maltings Community Group
East Herts Council