The National Trust has rejected all attempts by Ault Hucknall Parish Council (AHPC) to develop or buy the old Stainsby School. The Council has put together a Consortium to develop the School as a community hub: two charities (one of them Stainsby Festival)), a CVS organisation, a business social enterprise, a Bolsover Partnership business group, the local Arts Officer, the Doe Lea Centre as well as other local community groups. The Council has offered a fair market price for the property which agrees not only with the Council’s own valuation but one commissioned by the Trust itself to satisfy Charity Commission requirements. Instead It has put it up for auction to the highest possible bidder.
To dispose of it for the biggest commercial price, regardless of use, breaks its key charitable purpose. The Trust is supposed to hold assets in trust for the nation - that includes the local community last time we checked. It also makes a mockery of its claim to be “For Everyone. For Ever". - presumably until it gets a bit hard up, then it’s all out the window.
To make matters worse the Trust is reneging on a promise to the Council to work with it on a long standing ambition to develop a community hub in the hamlets of Ault Hucknall. After a fiasco with St Peter’s mission some years ago, the local Trust management offered (in writing) to transfer these efforts to the empty School. That was 9 years ago, during which time the building has stood empty and deteriorating; festival volunteers were forbidden to help with upkeep, the Council was stonewalled on discussions and then told it was to be sold, at which point the Council made its offer, then told - at auction. So, when posh cars started turning up suddenly three days later…
The latest rebuff over the offer of a fair market value is just the latest in a long line of arrogant behaviour by the Trust towards the community (including disbanding walking groups in Hardwick Park and refusing the local primary school a picnic round the lake this summer). It seems to think it’s the aristocracy and we’re the peasants. So, the local community will be denied the last available building for their social hub, small business looking to relocate there will need to go elsewhere and the Festival will have to find a new base for its operation. All in all, the local community will be much the poorer for the Trust’s pursuit of money at all costs.
So before it becomes a posh private dwelling, I took this video of the school.Stainsby school