National Trust tight-lipped about future of treasured old school building near Chesterfield

The National Trust has confirmed the sale of an old school building which had been earmarked for a community hub.

By Tim Paget
Friday, 26th November 2021, 5:47 pm

The national heritage charity has sold the former Stainsby School, located on the Hardwick estate, by online auction, but is not revealing who has bought it.

Charity bosses continued with the sale despite pleas from councillors and residents for it to remain in use for nearby villages as a community hub.

The National Trust says that cash raised from the building’s sale will help to preserve Hardwick Hall and its grounds ‘for generations to come’.

The National Trust has confirmed the sale of the old Stainsby school building in Derbyshire.

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

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Coun Tony Trafford, arts festival chairman and a member of Ault Hucknall Parish Council, said that a local consortium had made a good bid in the online auction, but had been forced to pull out.

He said: “It is very disappointing and to be so secretive about the sale is typical of our dealings with the National Trust over the past 20 years.

“We have spent 10 years trying to progress a promise that they made to work with the community to turn Stainsby School into a community hub.

“We have been met with nothing but prevarication, whether they have blamed a property review, or HS2, or any number of other things.”

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

A National Trust spokesman said: “We can confirm that the public auction of the former Stainsby School has come to a close and we are unable to disclose further details at this time.

"The proceeds from the sale will enable us to continue to protect and preserve the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, gardens and grounds for generations to come.”

The auction, carried out by chartered surveyors Fisher German described the property as ‘a former village school, offering great potential for development’.

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