The Southern Maltings Community Group formed in February 2014 in an effort to save the Southern Maltings in Kibes Lane, Ware,  from developers. The current owners, East Herts District Council, decided to sell the building in May 2013.

The vision to transform Ware’s Southern Malting into a fantastic community arts hub is set to become reality after East Herts Council agreed to lease all of the historic building to Ware Arts Centre.

The decision follows a two year campaign by the Southern Maltings Community Group to save the local landmark, in order to create an arts-for-all centre with studios, workshops, exhibition and performance areas together with a cafe and gift shop.

Large numbers of local residents got behind our call to #KeepWareCreative by signing petitions, attending public events, leafleting, and decorating postcards to send to councillors.

Council leader Linda Haysey said: “I’m delighted the council has decided to grant a 30 year lease to the Ware Arts Centre, as the plans for the building incorporate many benefits to the local community.”

Ware Arts Centre’s Sean Shaw, a founding member of Southern Maltings Community Group said: “This is fantastic news and we’d like to thank everyone who got involved. The enthusiastic response we got from local residents, schools and businesses played a key part in the success of our campaign, as did the backing we received from district councillor and Mayor of Ware town council Phyllis Ballam, Hertfordshire Regional College (HRC) and broadcasters Lord Melvyn Bragg and Ant Anstead. Huge credit must also go to East Herts Council for making such a far-sighted decision.”

“This beautiful building is part of our industrial heritage, and we’re excited about bringing it 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 our community. We look forward to fostering strong partnerships with HRC, Courtyard Arts and the wider creative community to develop an arts-for-all facility we can all be proud of.”

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