Wave of 'nostalgia and concern' as petition launched after Nottinghamshire town building goes up for sale for £1.5m

The Arthur Mee campus in Stapleford
The Arthur Mee campus in Stapleford -Credit:Google Street View

Residents in a Nottinghamshire town have been left "concerned" following the announcement an "iconic" building has gone up for sale for £1.5m. The Arthur Mee site in Stapleford is currently occupied by Nottingham College and was previously a primary school "which many residents have attended".

Stapleford North Independent Cllr Richard MacRae said neighbours have voiced their worries about the future of the building and expressed their wishes for the site to keep a similar purpose under its new future owners. He said: "So many people have used the building over the years as it's been a centre of learning for generations, it has a significant role in our community.

"If it goes away, it's not just a building that becomes empty. It will result in fewer people using the high street during daytime, which will have an effect on local businesses.

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"It's a big concern. It's also a historic building and there's not many left in Stapleford." Following the "wave of nostalgia and concern" among those who hold the building dear, Cllr MacRae, who sits on Broxtowe Borough Council, decided to launch a petition for Arthur Mee site's use to be retained as educational or community.

The petition was launched on Thursday, May 16, and had gained more than 120 signatures within 24 hours. The petition is urging Broxtowe Borough Council and other potential buyers to consider the community's interests as well as the building's heritage.

Suggestions such as a community centre, a new special needs school, or a mixed-use development that includes community facilities have been made.

Nottingham College managers said the Victorian former schoolhouse was no longer fit for purpose, and that provision will continue to be provided at the site for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities until the move to new multi-million-pound facilities in Basford.

On the petition, Cllr MacRae said: "We just want to get the word out and tell people what's happening.

"It would be nice to see the building stay there because it's been there for such a long time. There is a strong sentiment that the site should continue to serve the community in some capacity, rather than being repurposed for commercial or residential development.

"The architectural and historical significance of the Arthur Mee Campus further complicates the issue, as many feel that its legacy should be preserved." Cllr Mac Rae added: "The sale of the Arthur Mee Campus marks a significant moment for Stapleford.

"As the process unfolds, the community is watching closely, hoping for a future that honours the building's past while meeting contemporary needs. The outcome will undoubtedly shape the town's landscape and serve as a testament to how communities can influence the preservation and evolution of their local landmarks."

The Nottingham College Arthur Mee Campus provides learning and development to around 150 students with special needs. It benefits from a sensory room, accessible IT software and sports facilities, as well as multi-purpose vehicles used to promote independent travel.

Carl Ara, Assistant Principal at Basford and Arthur Mee Centre, Nottingham College, said: "Nottingham College’s brand new state-of-the-art developments at Basford, including our new Centre for Supported Learning, are due for completion in September 2024, with students and staff expected to move in in early 2025.

"The new Grade A, purpose-built Centre will offer the latest in specialist teaching and learning resources for SEND education. Adjacent to our fantastic new Construction Skills Centre, the students with SLDD (Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities) requirements will benefit from our excellent mainstream vocational provision, providing more integrated opportunities for our students during their learning with us.

"Whilst Nottingham College has a long and successful track record of SLDD delivery at the Arthur Mee Centre, the Victorian former school-house is no longer fit for purpose and requires significant restoration and innovation to meet the specialist requirements of our SLDD learners.

"Over the last two years we have worked proactively with the local MP, local council, Nottinghamshire County Council, plus ESFA, local business operators and through our own bidding team to try and find the funds needed to keep the building operational, either as a college building, or a facility for the local community to take on. These funding requests went all the way up to the top tiers of government.

"However, this attempt to secure capital investment funding has not been successful, and as such FHP has been appointed to handle the sale of the Arthur Mee Centre. In the meantime, Nottingham College will continue to provide learning and development to around 150 SLDD students at the Arthur Mee Centre until the move once the new exciting Basford developments are complete.”

Nottinghamshire Live approached Broxtowe Borough Council for comment.

You can sign the petition here.