Homes for Wells given approval to buy Wells Field Studies Centre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 October 2012

Wells Field Studies Centre has been brought by Homes for Wells, from left, Carol Jennings, Steve Storey, Marie Strong, Lynn Watson and Jim Fergusson outside the building. Picture; Matthew Usher.

Wells Field Studies Centre has been brought by Homes for Wells, from left, Carol Jennings, Steve Storey, Marie Strong, Lynn Watson and Jim Fergusson outside the building. Picture; Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2012

Homes for Wells has been given the go ahead by Norfolk County Council (NCC) to purchase and convert the town’s former Field Studies Centre into housing for key workers and other local people with a proven connection to the town.

The £500,000 bid was accepted at a meeting of NCC Cabinet members, subject to contract, this week.

The property, on Polka Road, is currently occupied by Scira, the company working on the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind farm, off the north Norfolk coast.

Scira is due to leave in February 2013 and move to a new premises in Egmere, four miles south of Wells, which is now being built.

Homes for Wells hopes to raise the necessary funds and have the conversion completed in the next two years.

Jim Fergusson, Homes for Wells board member, said he is unable to estimate, at this stage, how many homes will be created.

He said: “We had a fantastic response to our appeal to raise the £500,000 asking price and all within three weeks.

“We are therefore delighted our offer has been accepted. We hope to do justice to the Grade 2 listed building which is still an iconic building for many people.

“It is great that the building will go on to serve the local community and become a home to many in the years to come.”

County councillor for Wells, Dr Marie Strong, said: “This is great news and the start of an exciting new era. In hope to see some children and young people in these homes.”

Wells Field Studies Centre was the town’s first school and was built in 1838 on land given by the Holkham Estate.

It closed in 1965 but Homes for Wells board member Marcus French said: “I attended the school for its last year and my mother has wonderful memories of her school days there.”

The school was run by Mary Gamble, daughter of the famous sea captain John Fryer who was remembered for being the sail master in 1792 during the Mutiny on the Bounty.

Homes for Wells was set up in 2006 for the benefit of the local community.

Many local people are unable to afford to rent or buy property in the town due to its increasing popularity as a retirement and second home location.

Since its launch, Homes for Wells has provided accommodation for more than 30 key workers and local people.

The charity is now looking to raise a further £500,000 to convert the old school into homes.

For further information or to support the project e mail Mr Fergusson on jimferg@btinternet.com, go to www.homesforwells.co.uk or call 07765 503292.

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