National Trust resumes online auction for treasured community building near Hardwick Hall

The National Trust’s controversial sale of a community building is to go ahead by online auction.

Charity bosses at the trust wish to sell Stainsby School, on the Hardwick estate, despite pleas from councillors and residents for it to remain in use for nearby villages.

The building was initially due to go under the hammer at an auction on Thursday, October 14, but this was put on hold because of ‘a title matter’.

An online auction has now begun and will last until noon on Tuesday, November 16.

The National Trust’s controversial sale of Stainsby School, near Hardwick Hall, is to go ahead by online auction.

A National Trust spokesman said: “We can confirm we are returning the former Stainsby School to public auction on Friday, November 5, until noon on Tuesday, November 16.

“In accordance with section 119 of the Charity Act, it is our responsibility to ensure this sale is transparent and an online public auction is still the best way to do this.”

The Victorian building had been been earmarked as the ‘last possible site’ for a community hub serving the area and the move has repeatedly come under fire from parish councillors and trustees of the Stainsby Festival.

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‘Dog’s breakfast’

Coun Tony Trafford, Stainsby Arts Festival chairman and a member of Ault Hucknall Parish Council, said a consortium made up of the council, festival and local businesses made another attempt to buy it, but had been rebuffed by the trust.

He said: “They have treated the parish council with contempt and the whole episode has been a complete dog’s breakfast.

“The council, with a consortium of small businesses, want to buy it for the community, with the festival a key part of that.

“The festival is a small registered charity which is being jeopardised by a much larger charity.”

The National Trust has defended its decision, which it says ‘will enable us to continue to protect and preserve’ Hardwick Hall for ‘generations to come’.

The Hardwick estate covers a mostly rural area of farmland and hamlets surrounding the 16th Century Elizabethan former home of Bess of Hardwick.

The trust spokesman said: “As a charity, and in line with the Charity Act, it is our responsibility to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome from the sale.”

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