Former independent school with £4m price tag goes up for sale

Hethersett Old Hall School is up for sale. Picture: Dave Guttridge

Hethersett Old Hall School is up for sale. Picture: Dave Guttridge - Credit: Archant

An independent school which collapsed into administration is going on the market – with liquidators estimating it could fetch up to £4m.

Hethersett Old Hall School went up for sale on Monday following its sudden closure in August.

And the parties managing the process are confident of a sale, with more than a dozen expressions of interest made so far from potential buyers.

George Craig, from the development team at Savills Norwich, which is leading the sale, said: "This is an important site in a key location and we're keen to secure a positive outcome so that it can be brought back into use as soon as possible. We are expecting interest from a range of sectors including those in education, healthcare, residential and leisure."

Property details from Savills say the site includes: the main hall and adjacent barn, both grade two-listed; the sixth form block, built in the 1980s; the purpose-built junior and pre-prep school, added in the early 2000s; and the four-bedroom school house, on its own 0.3 acre plot with a separate access.

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The academic spaces include arts studios, a swimming pool and a sports hall.

Agents are inviting offers for the whole site - and buyers also have the option of negotiating a price for the fixtures and fittings.

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The planning land use for the site is predominantly non-residential education, with additional residential institution use due to its boarding facilities, but change of use could be obtained through the planning process.

Hethersett Old Hall School blamed falling pupils numbers for its financial problems when it collapsed just weeks before the start of the new school term with barely 100 students on its roll. It charged up to £5,210 a term for day pupils and £9,760 a term for boarders, and had recently cut sixth form fees in a bid to increase numbers.

But despite school leaders' efforts - including two trips to Asia by headmaster Stephen Crump and his wife to drum up interest, detailed in the school's 2017 annual report - the roll continued to shrink.

The school in Norwich Road owed more than £500,000 to creditors when it folded, but a successful sale of the property should ensure it covers its debts.

Parents expressed shock and sadness at closure of the school, which had been running in Hethersett for more than 75 years. A celebration event was held at the end of August for past and present pupils, parents and staff.

In a letter to parents and carers governors said they had explored many avenues to try and save the school.

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