Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

Nacton: Homes bid for former Amberfield School site

22:59 28 December 2012

Patrick Hockley outside the old Amberfield School in Nacton.

Patrick Hockley outside the old Amberfield School in Nacton.

Archant

PLANS to breathe new life into a former Suffolk girls’ school that went into financial meltdown and closed last year, have been tabled.

Amberfield School was an all-girl independent school with former pupils including the likes of artist Maggi Hambling and Madeleine Gurdon, Baroness Lloyd Webber.

The school, based in a Victorian workhouse with added modern buildings, closed suddenly in October 2011 after the trust that ran the site ran up debts totalling more than £1.8million.

Now the main building, situated in the 16-acre wooded grounds, is set to be transformed into a dozen flats and houses with a further 10 new homes to be built around the grounds.

Patrick Hockley, of Hockley & Goodwin Estate and Land Agents, which acquired the site for the new developers, said it was a very exciting proposal. He said: “We have got a lot of modern buildings here that are not in keeping with the existing old workhouse and our plan is to demolish the modern parts and rebuild it as 10 new units on the site. We’ll keep the same footprint, within reason, and then with the existing buildings, convert them into 12 units – some flats and bungalows.

“We will be keeping all of the trees as they are part of the site.”

He said there was “huge shock” when the school closed suddenly but that there had been “incredible” interest in the property once it was placed on the market.

The plans, which are subject to planning permission, would see the retail value of the properties total about £14m and it is hoped that the sale of the site to developers Michael Howard homes, based in Dedham, and Knight Developments will realise some sort of return for the many left out of pocket by the school’s collapse.

The trust’s financial shortfall included a £1.3m debt to Barclays Bank, £200,000 outstanding to staff and £360,000 owed to other creditors. Nearly £38,000 was owed to HM Revenue & Customs, there was an insurance bill of £25,000, a council tax debt of £10,000 to Suffolk Coastal District Council and the trust owed £10,401 in teachers’ pensions.

The school employed 53 people at the time of the closure and former staff members made preferential creditors – those most likely to see any return from the sale of the property after any secured creditors, which includes the bank.

As well as dozens of parents being owed tens of thousands of pounds in school fees, the trust also owed money to a wide range of local companies and individuals for services carried out and unpaid bills. The school also owed Suffolk County Council nearly £1,800 and £21,000 to Ipswich department store Coes for old uniform stock.

1 comment

  • Repaying debts, even if some are for the Council which decides on the planning permission (hmmm!), is not a good reason to build on this site. Surely it is not within any envelope; the concept of which planners are so insistent on when applications are made by mere ordinary people and not by large well-connected Companies.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Sunday, December 30, 2012

An Ipswich minicab driver has been convicted of touting for business and stealing a £450 phone belonging to a teenage girl he illegally picked up at Cardinal Park.

A former Ipswich businessman who lost a £2,000 Cartier watch has said an honest stranger who found it and handed it in has restored his faith in human nature.

Quiet morning so far on the roads and trains, with one cancellation and some congestion.

There is nothing worse than getting stuck in traffic jams caused by roadworks.

Police are investigating the circumstances into the death of a man and woman at a property in Stowmarket.

Organised drug networks are increasingly infiltrating rural and coastal towns in Suffolk, a new police report warns.

It is not a pastime that is enjoyed quietly, and the people of Felixstowe were certainly aware when this parade of Morris dancers travelled through the town in 1991.

Jay Z, Pink, Rudimental and Ellie Goulding will be among the acts at V Festival.

The roadblock on the A12 has been lifted and a woman in a critical condition has been taken to hospital.

It’s a day where tensions can run high for both Norwich and Ipswich fans.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24