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Abandoned Victorian nursing home sells again – for conversion into homes

PUBLISHED: 07:29 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:21 17 September 2020

Austhorpe House nursing home which has been sold to a developer to be converted into new homes. Pic: Savills.

Austhorpe House nursing home which has been sold to a developer to be converted into new homes. Pic: Savills.

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A historic former nursing home in a Norfolk village, with a long list of former owners, has been sold again.

Austhorpe House has been sold to a developer to be converted into new homes. Pic; SavillsAusthorpe House has been sold to a developer to be converted into new homes. Pic; Savills

A historic former nursing home in a Norfolk village, with a long list of former owners, has been sold again.

Austhorpe House in Forncett St Peter, near Norwich, was most recently a residential home for the elderly.

It closed its doors last year after a Care Quality Commission report found it required improvement.

The property, in 1.3 acres with more than 12.000 sqft of accommodation, was put on the market by liquidators for a guide price of £950,000.

Austhorpe House has been sold to a developer to be converted into new homes. Pic: SavillsAusthorpe House has been sold to a developer to be converted into new homes. Pic: Savills

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The former 25-bed nursing home has now been bought by Forncett Developments Ltd in a deal led by agent Savills in Norwich.

The developer is hoping to convert it into three new homes, while a separate four-bedroom house that was used for staff accommodation will also be renovated.

A spokesman for Forncett Developments Ltd said: “The intention is to develop a scheme which will bring the main house and associated property back to life, as well as generating a sympathetic proposal for the remainder of the site which will blend in with the surrounding area.”

The house is unusual because it has been bought and sold many times over its lifetime up until it became a care home.

It is believed to have been built in 1865 by John Gill West, a local shopkeeper, but he went bankrupt, owing almost £2,000, and the sale of his business included not only the shop and associated land but also the house. It was later bought by a local, philanthropic farmer, Thomas Palmer, who funded the building of the Methodist chapel in Forncett End in 1865.

When he died in 1903 the house was bought by Charles Emmerson who ran it, with his sister, as a boarding house called Dunholme before it was sold to the Rev Benjamin Appleyard and his wife Florence. They named the building Austhorpe House, after their family seat at Austhorpe in Yorkshire.

After the First World War, during which he served as an Army chaplain, Mr Appleyard became rector of Burgate, near Diss and the house was sold again. This time a couple, John and Mabel Wales bought it and lived there until their deaths in 1954 and 1957 respectively. From 1958, it then became a residential care home.


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