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Date published: 5th October 2018

Photo: Sue and Simon Wiseman, outside their award-winning home.

A converted Grade II listed barn in East Ruston has won top prize at the Graham Allen Awards. 

The Graham Allen Award is presented annually by North Norfolk District Council to the project considered to make the most significant contribution to the built environment within the district.

The award has been running for the last 36 years to celebrate the best practice in design and conservation in North Norfolk. The results of the awards were announced yesterday <October 4th> at a ceremony at North Norfolk District Council’s offices in Cromer.

Previous winners have included the extension to Binham Priory, the refurbishment of the Gunton Arms on the edge of Thorpe Market, Hootz House at Pensthorpe Natural Park and last year’s overall winner; Wild Acres in Heydon.

The latest name to join this illustrious list is Church Barn in East Ruston, which won the judges’ vote this year. The project saw the conversion of a Grade II Listed Barn and the erection of a single-storey extension. Proud owners Sue and Simon Wiseman accepted the award and Mrs Wiseman said she was particularly pleased to have won considering the impressive standard of all the nominees. The judges praised the conversion and said they were impressed by the passion, dedication and vision the owners had shown in transforming a derelict, at risk barn into a unique home.

Church Barn was not the only winner on the day. The prize for Highly Commended went to Wells Maltings, Staithe Street. The project saw the conversion and extension of Grade II Listed Wells Maltings, a high profile building in the town, creating a cultural centre and community hub for the public to enjoy. The Maltings opened recently and has already had very good visitor figures.

Wells Maltings saw further recognition when the district’s residents gave the project their seal of approval when it won the People’s Choice Award. Voting took place at North Norfolk District Council’s Greenbuild event at the beginning of September.

Fakenham also enjoyed the spotlight when 31-34 Market Place won the Commended prize. The project saw the creation of a mixed use development following fire damage to the former Aldiss building in the town centre.

Cllr Sue Arnold, North Norfolk District Council’s Conservative Cabinet Member for Planning and Chairman of the awards judging panel, said: “The quality of this year’s entries and subsequent shortlist for judging was exceptionally high, so this year’s winners can be incredibly proud of their achievement.

“Well done to all those who entered, it has again been a pleasure to be involved with this excellent set of awards in 2018.”

Cllr John Rest, North Norfolk District Council’s Independent Group Leader, said: “It is always rewarding to receive any accolade for a project that has taken time, energy and no doubt lots of money to achieve.

“Our panel take a lot of care and consideration in choosing the finalists. Well done to the winners.”

Gitte Kjeldsen Highland, Director and Architect at Chaplin Farrant, said: “We are delighted to have been involved in the regeneration of the Wells Maltings building and extending it to create a facility that is truly at the heart of the community.

“The project has had a great team working together to deliver the facility and we trust that all who visit and use the Maltings, from local people to visiting tourists, will enjoy everything that the building has to offer in the way arts, film, music and entertainment. We wish the Wells Maltings Trust every success with the future.”

Last updated: 5th October 2018