Nine bids made for Walden School site – with hopes creditors will be repaid by end of June

PUBLISHED: 13:16 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:16 06 December 2017

Walden School in Saffron Walden

Walden School in Saffron Walden

Archant

There have now been nine bids for the purchase of the site of Walden School in Saffron Walden, reviving hopes those owed money will be paid in full.

Administrators Grant Thornton are hoping to complete the sale by March, which means money owed to school staff, parents and suppliers could be repaid by the end of June – a year on from when the school closed, leaving salaries unpaid.

This summer, debts to teachers, kitchen staff, parents, banks and tradesmen supplying goods, totalled some £3.5million.

Administrators Grant Thornton now hope everyone will be paid in full, with the 8% interest the law demands.

A spokesman said the bids were being looked at. It was too early to say whom they were from and what plans there were for the site, but the bids are from “a variety of interested parties”.

Estate agents Savills’ brochure said all bids must include a proposal for future use of the site and the vendors do not have to accept the highest price.

No guide price was set, and unconditional offers needed to be made. In the administrators’ first report, the site was valued at £8.3m.

The sales particulars detail that while part of the 9.83ha site on Mount Pleasant Road is currently within a conservation area, a review of the protected zone could see the whole location included.

Justin Bates, director of Savills development in Cambridge, said when the brochure was published: “We are confident the site will remain in educational and community use, hopefully in its entirety.”

Despite the school being closed, the administrators say there is an extensive maintenance programme to complete. This includes electrical testing, repairs to boilers, draining down the systems during the winter, fixing emergency lights and testing fire alarms.

One bid is believed to be from Gibson House for a Quaker-inspired independent school with facilities including the swimming pool and sports pitches available for community use.

Spokesman Douglas Kent said at the time the bids were invited: “We are refining our bid and preparing to submit it to meet the deadline.

“We welcome the details on the conservation area. Our plans do not require enabling development, which we would see as compromising the school.”

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