A former school site gets a new future

A former independent school in Norfolk is set to become a police training facility after Savills sold the property for £3.35m.

Norfolk Constabulary has purchased Hethersett Old Hall School, near Norwich, which closed in August last year. The deal was agreed by the development team at Savills Norwich after they were instructed by insolvency specialists at McTear Williams and Wood. The new training facility is expected to open in August following necessary development and refurbishment. There is also potential for further collaboration with partners including Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, which the force already works with.

George Craig, who led the sale on behalf of the development team at Savills Norwich, said: “This was an important site in a key location and we’re delighted to have been able to secure a positive outcome in a relatively short space of time. “There was plenty of interest from a variety of parties and it’s great that we’ve been able to find a buyer who will continue to use the site for the benefit of the community – allowing Norfolk Constabulary to enhance the service it provides to the local area.”

Andrew McTear, from McTear Williams & Wood, added: “It was a sad day when the school had to close. We are pleased to have played our part in ensuring that the site will be rejuvenated.”

The site included the grade II-listed main hall and adjacent barn, canteen and dining hall, sixth form block, purpose-built junior and pre-prep school and a four-bedroom school house on its own 0.3 acre plot with separate access. The academic spaces included arts studios, a swimming pool, science buildings and a sports hall.

The new Learning Centre will provide 5,579 sq m of accommodation, with 29 classrooms, offices for police trainers as well as a gym. The site also has an existing nursery which the constabulary will aim to keep in use, supporting staff and the local community. Training for police officer recruits is currently delivered at Norfolk Constabulary headquarters in Wymondham but the existing facilities do not have the capacity to deal with the number of new recruits expected over the next three years.

Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said: “This new centre of excellence is close to the current police headquarters, in the heart of Norfolk and will help to continue to deliver a modern and innovative service for the county.”

Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey added: “Our ambition is to create a centre of excellence for learning; one which can attract and retain the very best candidates as we move into a new era of police recruitment.”

The police project has been funded through capital investment at no cost to the taxpayer.

18 March 2020

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