A former public school which closed in controversial circumstances last year has been put up for sale.
An asking price of £2.95m has been placed on Howell’s School in Denbigh but agents handling the sale say that even though it has been on the market for only a few days there has been considerable interest in the property.
The independent girls’ school, which opened in 1859, closed suddenly last year when H2000, the company which had taken over the property, went into liquidation and was found to be £481,000 in the red.
Though the school itself is closed and the adjacent preparatory school has been sold, the main site is still being used for language classes and other studies, mainly by overseas youngsters.
Earlier this year estate manager Paul Gibson said that it was now being run by The Foundation of Howell’s, and that 4,000 bed nights had been sold for this year.
“Denbigh does not need another North Wales Hospital and I can reassure the good people of Denbigh this won’t be the case with the Howell’s Estate,” he said.
The campus, covering 37 acres, is being sold through the Wilmslow office of agents Jackson Stops and Staff, and is described as having “development/investment potential”.
In addition to the main Grade II listed block there are three boarding houses and the former principal’s house.
The sports facilities include an equestrian centre, open air swimming-pool, four tennis courts, sports hall, squash courts, a climbing wall and caving centre. The sports hall is currently used by local clubs.
Crispin Harris, of Jackson Stops and Staff, declined to confirm who the vendors are but stated: “It has only just been advertised but we are receiving a lot of interest.”
At £2.95m, he said, the estate was “commercially priced”.
“At present it is designated for educational purposes and any purchaser would have to consider whether to apply for planning consent for change of use,” he said.
Mr Harris said the classes currently being held on the site would continue for the foreseeable future..
The directors of H2000 last year were said to be Robbie Locke and his wife Nicola, whose home address is said to be in the Cayman Islands.
They were criticised for their handling of the sacking of head teacher Bernie Routledge who was awarded £216,898 last year after winning his claim for unfair dismissal.
His former partner Helen Price, who was head of PE, was also awarded £83,537 at the same tribunal and other former members of staff have also been successful in their claims.
Among Howell’s alumni are actresses Nerys Hughes and Joanna Scanlan, Steps singer Lisa Scott-Lee and Kirsty Bertarelli, named in the Sunday Times Rich List as Britain’s richest woman.