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Children to return to site of old Papworth Everard school

19 October 2023

Children will return to the historic primary school in Papworth Everard after the sale of the site to a local nursery was agreed by County Councillors yesterday (18 October 2023).

Wigwam Nurseries Ltd, an established local childcare company with five locations across the area, including nearby Brampton and Huntingdon, has agreed to purchase the site for £520,000 after it was put up for sale by the Council earlier in the year.

All five of Wigwam’s nurseries are graded as Outstanding by Ofsted across all areas, with inspectors praising the ‘inspirational’ teaching, commitment to ‘excellence’ and ‘outstanding practice’ of the local Huntingdonshire-based group.

The community role of the site has now been secured following agreement of the sale at the County’s new Assets and Procurement Committee, the first of which was held at New Shire Hall, Alconbury on Thursday 18 October 2023. The sale created a lot of interest, with nine offers received for this third of an acre, central village location.

The former school was originally built in 1901 to educate the children of the Papworth Hall Estate but closed back in 1997 after the larger, modern Pendragon Community Primary was opened nearby to cater for increasing numbers of children in the catchment area. Since then, the school has been used by Cambridgeshire Music, whilst a variety of potential uses for the location have been considered, with previous interest from both local District and Parish Councils.

The Council’s planning consultants considered various options for the site, which comprises of a double height brick building, a small single storey block and tarmacked former playground, however, they advised that sale would offer the best financial value to the Council.

Councillor Ros Hathorn, Chair of Assets and Procurement Committee said: “We’re delighted that the old school will once again become a place of learning for the youngest members of our community. There’s been much discussion over the years in the village about the future of this unique location. This decision secures the future of the site in the ownership of a well-regarded local business with a community focus. At the same time, the sale provides much needed funds, which will be used to support our Council’s public services.

“Parents repeatedly highlight to me the need for more early years provision across the area, so this is an excellent result for everyone. We look forward to seeing the building take on a new lease of life with Wigwam Nurseries and children returning to the site again.”

The property was marketed by Brown & Co of St Neots and sale was agreed unanimously by Committee, in line with Council procedures which require Committee approval for all matters where values are above £500,000.