Former Derbyshire National Trust property to be converted into home

A former village school, which was previously owned by the National Trust, is to be converted into a home after falling into disrepair.

By Christina Massey
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:32 pm
Stainsby School, on the Hardwick estate, near Chesterfield, was auctioned off by the National Trust last November.
Stainsby School, on the Hardwick estate, near Chesterfield, was auctioned off by the National Trust last November.

Stainsby Centre and Baden Powell Scouts Centre, in Hawking Lane, Stainsby, was sold at auction by the conservation charity last year for £388k, despite attempts by Ault Hucknall Parish Council, supported by local charities and business groups, to take over the lease and retain it for community use.

The property, which has been unoccupied for some time, dates back to the late 19th Century when it was used as a school house for Stainsby and is built upon the remains of a medieval settlement.

In recent years it has been used as a Scout hut and storage for Stainsby Festival.

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The new owners, Mr and Mrs Austin applied to Bolsover District Council for permission for change of use to a single dwelling house with associated domestic curtilage.

Discussing the application in a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, June 8, planning manager Sarah Kay said members needed to take into account the loss of a community facility when considering it.

She pointed out that the building was in need of repair and on balance the application would ‘ensure the building’s preservation in the setting of the conservation area’.

Councillor Duncan McGregor said he remembered visiting the building when he was head Scout officer.

He commented: “It’s unfortunate that circumstances have now arrived that’s caused this situation.”

Coun McGregor added that he thought ‘common sense needed to be attributed’ in relation to the preservation of the building.

Chairman Councillor Tom Munro commented that access to the property was via a single track road with no parking, making future community use difficult to sustain.

The application was approved unanimously.

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

Coun Tony Trafford, chair of the arts festival and a member of Ault Hucknall Parish Council, said he was ‘furious’ about it being auctioned off.

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 chapel and school are both located on the Hardwick estate – which covers a mostly rural area of farmland and hamlets surrounding the 16th Century Elizabethan former home of Bess of Hardwick.

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