More than 20 bidders want to take over Holt Hall

VW camper van festival at Holt Hall.

File photo of a festival on the grounds of Holt Hall. Councillors on Norfolk County Council voted to sell the hall in December 2019.  - Credit: Colin Finch

More than 20 potential buyers have put forward proposals for what they would do with Holt Hall.

After the Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council voted to sell off the much-loved outdoor education centre in December 2019, interested parties were invited to put forward proposals with their plans for the hall last October. 

The Friends of Holt Hall (FOHH), which led a campaign to save the site, declined to put forward a bid, but will instead support a bid from another body. 

A council spokesman said officers were now examining the proposals, and they would be put to the cabinet within the next month. 

Holt Hall, c.1945. Picture: Archant Library

Holt Hall pictured in the 1940s. The hall has been an important part of the education of generations of schoolchildren.  - Credit: Archant Library

The spokesman said the interest had been "significant". 

He said: "The bidding for Holt Hall has now closed with bids received from a variety of providers.

"We are in the process of evaluating each proposal and asking for further details where they are needed.

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"This work will inform recommendations, for a decision by the relevant the cabinet member in a month or so.”

The council has said it would like to see the hall remain as an education centre rather than being transformed into a private home.

But despite this the decision to sell it sparked a public outcry, as it had been an important and fondly remembered part of the education of generations of schoolchildren. 

Nic Hopkins, FOHH's trustee and treasurer, said: "Although our bid didn't prove viable in the end, FOHH is interested in supporting the successful buyer of the hall if their objectives align with ours, in securing the legacy of Holt Hall."

In October the Friends said they were working with the Swanton Morley-based Castlemeadow Group, who were understood to have been one of the parties submitting a bid for the hall. 

Castlemeadow Director Dr Sanjay Kaushal. picture Sonya Duncan

Castlemeadow Director Dr Sanjay Kaushal.   - Credit: Eastern Daily Press

Dr Sanjay Kaushal, of Castlemeadow, said: “Holt Hall should be developed for the children of Norfolk because of its history and potential for transforming young people’s lives.  

"If we are successful in now acquiring the hall and grounds and launching our new community enterprise, we shall establish a robust and viable business offering residential and day visits to Holt Hall for environmental and outdoor learning and climate change studies."