Calls for 'community use' of former grammar school site

old grammar school site

The Fakenham grammar school on Wells Road - Credit: Google Maps

Calls have been made for part of a former grammar school to be put to community use, with questions still remaining over how it may be used in future

The former Fakenham Grammar School on Wells Road has been unused since 2017 after they moved the college to the academy site on Field Lane. Behind the old school, the new specialist school, Duke of Lancaster is being built.

The site ownership was passed back to Norfolk County Council in 2017, which says it is looking at what can be done with the site now.

The Fakenham College site. Picture: Ian Burt

The Fakenham College site. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: “The council is currently exploring options for those areas of the site that do not form part of the new SEND school. This will include the option to retain some parts of the site for community use.”

There has long been speculation about what would happen to the Wells Road property, with housing and a swimming pool being suggested in the past.  

Built-in 1823, the college was set in the grade II-listed Highfield House, a Georgian building set in spacious grounds.

Fakenham College in 2017, before the building was closed Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham College in 2017, before the building was closed Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

After the introduction of the Education Act 1944, two years later it became Fakenham Grammar School.

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Norfolk county councillor for Fakenham, Tom FitzPatrick echoed that the site should be used for the community.

A man stands in front of the fencing at the school's building site

County Councillor for Fakenham, Tom FitzPatrick visited the new school site in Fakenham. - Credit: Tom FitzPatrick

“My main priority for the site was to get a school for children with special educational needs in this area, and the building is now well under way,” he said.

“I am also pushing for as much community use as possible on the site.

“I would like to see a sympathetic use for the listed building particularly as a lot of people in the town went to the school and have a great affection for the buildings. A quality conversion to housing could be one possibility.

“I want to see the open space at the front remain as an open space to be open to the public, perhaps as a garden.

“There could also be space to build some assisted living flats, on the site of the redundant buildings to the rear, as long as it maintains the dignity of the building.”