May 21 2013 Latest news:
Monday, April 30, 2012
PRINCIPAL David Pomfret says £250,000 from the sale of Grove House, Chatteris, will help pay for improvements to the Wisbech and Lynn sites of the College of West Anglia.
Grove House is a Grade-II Georgian building in High Street but only when consent was obtained to convert it to housing – and the asking price dropped from the original £495,000 - did it find a buyer.
Ben Green of Cheffins described it as a “superb building with two storey stables to the rear and totalling around 3,500 sq ft.”
He said demand for commercial use was not particularly high and although planning permission is for one home it could possibly be split into flats.
Even though the cash is needed urgently by the college there will be many in Chatteris who will still feel cheated that the proceeds from its sale are going out of town.
The building was given to the people of Chatteris in 1939 by the Childs family but under local government re-organisation it passed from Chatteris Urban Council to Fenland District Council.
In 1999 the then Labour controlled council sold it the college at the knock down price of £5,000 providing it would be used for educational purposes.
However, whether passage of time has rendered the clause null and void is not clear and town councillor Chris Howes has long argued that its sale “rankles” with many in Chatteris.
He once described it as “illustrative of the continuing ‘rape of Chatteris’ with our assets being sold off only for other parts of the district to benefit.”
Mr Pomfret, busy overseeing an improvement programme that includes a £7million technology centre at Wisbech, says he needs to raise cash where he can from surplus properties.
He has announced the closure of Plaxtole House in King’s Lynn plus a fitness centre to save £1.6 million.
Plaxtole House has been used to house students with learning disabilities but the college says it can no longer afford to maintain it.
Mr Pomfret said the college faced “significant accommodation challenges” on all its campuses.