Wadhurst Place, South of Tunbridge Wells, East Sussex

New build buyers are going back to school

For many new build buyers, their happiest school days could be ahead of them. This is because there has been an upturn in the number of former schools transformed by top-end niche developers into characterful residential properties in both town and country locations.

For example, Grade II-listed manor house Wadhurst Place in Kent was a boarding school for girls before it closed in 2001. It has now been fully restored to its former glory while being sympathetically converted into a collection of desirable apartments and mews houses. It has the added advantage of being set in attractive parklands and the grounds will ultimately accommodate 26 detached luxury family homes, which will be in keeping with the local Sussex architectural style and history, while providing all the amenities expected for modern day luxury living. 

School renovations in city locations may not benefit from the rolling green acres of Wadhurst Place but planning regulations often mean that period features such as huge sash windows and double-height classroom ceilings have to be retained, meaning that such conversions are flooded with light and boast period features that distinguish them from more modern properties on the market. 

South Oswald Road, for example, is a rather grand conversion of a former Barnardo’s school with associated new build development in one of Edinburgh’s most sought after suburbs. This magnificent development offers the ultimate in contemporary finishes and a timeless elegance created by the fine period detailing: high ceilings, magnificent cornices, wood panelling, sash windows and public rooms with wonderfully grand proportions.

The School House in Glasgow’s trendy West End, meanwhile, comprises apartments and penthouses – all of which reflect the generous dimensions and architectural heritage of the building, combined with striking contemporary interiors. 

School conversions are often located in popular residential areas, well served by local amenities and good transport links. For this reason they score top marks with downsizers who want to remain in their neighbourhoods close to family and friends, young professionals who need easy access to city centres, and anybody else who is looking for the low maintenance, energy efficiency and contemporary design of new build, but still hankers after the grace and elegance of period architecture.


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