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School planned at former B and B





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A three-storey farmhouse could be used as a residential school if plans are approved by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Hill Farm House, Thurgarton, would become an eight-bedroom residential school with two classrooms, a kitchen, dining room and lounge.

The property formerly provided bed and breakfast accommodation.

The application for change of use to a residential school was submitted by Mr Roger Blown on behalf of Castle Care, a company that runs a national network of children’s homes.

Its headquarters are in Rothwell, Northamptonshire. Mr Blown is the company’s national property manager.

The building would be known as Hill Farm College. It could open to students in May.

It would provide vocational training and the opportunity to attend college for up to eight teenage boys, aged 14 to 19, who had had disrupted educations.

There would be 15 staff at the school, including teachers and care workers.

Castle Care’s website says the idea of Hill Farm College would be to reintegrate teenagers back into the community.

It said the curriculum would include agricultural and horticultural courses, vocational training and work experience with local employers.

Mrs Ann Williams, who would become the principal and registered manager of the college, said the building was ready for students to move into after internal decoration that did not require planning permission.

“We haven’t really made any changes to the structure of the building, we’ve just updated the inside,” she said.

The chairman of Thurgarton Parish Council, Mr Ian Edwards, said around 20 villagers attended a meeting at which Mrs Williams spoke about the proposal.

“I think people went away reasonably content and what Castle Care was planning for the site was well received,” he said.

The parish council has, however, objected to the proposal for a change of use.

Mr Edwards said the council did not object to the Castle Care proposals but was concerned about the long-term use of the site.

“The reason we voted against the proposal was nothing to do with Castle Care but because, as was explained by our district councillor, Roger Blaney, a change of use is forever,” said Mr Edwards.

“If it changes from a bed and breakfast to an education establishment and, down the stream, if Castle Care don’t make a success of it then a pre-prep school or something similar could set up without applying for change of use and then we could have 35 mothers driving through the village dropping off children.

“If the planning permission was just for Castle Care for the lifetime of them using the building we would support it but because of this long-term prospect we don’t. If we open the door we can never shut it again.”

The district council will make the final decision.



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