A successful day nursery – which has five centres across Cambridgeshire and all rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – has bought the former Papworth Everard Primary School from the county council. Wigwam Nurseries Ltd topped the list of bidders to secure the Ermine Street building for £520,000 – £170,000 more than the council had valued it at in 2020.
The school was built in 1901 to educate children on the Papworth Hall Estate and operated as a primary school until it’s closure in 1997 when Cambridgeshire County Council opened the Pendragon Community Primary School to support increasing numbers in the catchment.
The school has since been used by Cambs Music, a traded unit of the county council, until circa 2016 when the building was declared surplus.
The school comprises a comprises a double height main building of brick construction with later extensions, and a separate single storey building to the rear.
It was also one of the properties offered to the council’s own trading arm, This Land Ltd, but they turned it down.
In 2017 the council submitted a planning application to convert it into six flats “but this was withdrawn following discussion and feedback from planning officers”.
The sale to Wigwam will be reported to the council assets and procurement committee next week.
A report says that the parish council had once expressed an interest in buying it “but did not pursue this after an RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) ‘red book’ valuation provided a market value of £350,000 in December 2020”.
South Cambridgeshire District Council did consider it but again withdrew once a new ‘red book’ valuation in October 2022 indicated a price of £400,000.
Eventually the council marketed it earlier this year through Brown & Co, St Neots and nine offers were received.
“Whilst considering the offers, the highest two bidders submitted further, higher offers, which until a contractual decision has been made, they were entitled to do, and the council is obliged to consider,” says the report.
A new deadline for “best and final” offers was set as midday 8th August 2023 and “Wigwam Nurseries Limited offer of £520,000 was the highest.”
The report adds: “The proposed use of this property supports the statutory duty of CCC in supporting Early Years Education and Childcare for working families.”
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Ship Lane, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4BB
62 High Street, Brampton, HUNTINGDON, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4TH
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