Blanchelande Trust buys Vauxbelets site for £1.4m

BLANCHELANDE College Trust has bought the Vauxbelets site for £1.4m.

Blanchelande College principal Robert O’Brien. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 231507390)
Blanchelande College principal Robert O’Brien. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 231507390)

The school has rented the site since 1999 from the French Christian order the De La Salle Brothers.

The sale of the 40-acre site was completed yesterday morning, with the trust having to pay the money over a 10-year period.

‘As the school has grown so much, we’ve got the classroom space, but we need larger infrastructure such as astro sports facilities, a new refectory and a larger school hall, spaces where you’d gather large groups of people,’ said principal Robert O’Brien.

‘Pupils and parents will see few changes to the day-to-day running of the school, but for trustees and governors, we now have long-term security of tenure and robust business. It’s very exciting.’

The Vauxbelets estate include the original 18th century house Vauxbelets de Haut, Vauxbelets de Bas farm buildings, large early 20th century school buildings, playing fields, additional outbuildings and agricultural land.

‘We have large buildings which were former storage that are in good condition and can be converted and repurposed,’ said Mr O’Brien.

The school has three sub-lets on the site – farming land, Martyn Guille Silversmiths and Valley Computers.

The Little Chapel is a completely separate entity, and other than being neighbours there is no formal relationship between the two trusts.

Staff, students and parents were informed of the deal last night.

‘The purchase brings the strong benefits of permanence and of course will be a more sound basis for effective fundraising for the further improvement of our educational facilities,’ they were told.

‘Parents, former students and other supporters of Blanchelande regularly make generous donations to enable improvements to the physical development of the estate, and they will now do so knowing that the college has the security of ownership.’

The trustees have emphasised the affordability of the repayment schedule for the purchase.

‘Effectively the payments are a swap for the rent the school is already paying,’ said Mr O’Brien.

‘The terms have been very carefully agreed with the trust and the brothers, so the pre-payments will not be detrimental to the running of the school.’

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