Villagers say they are determined not to let an old school building go to developers and it should be sold to the oversubscribed 'tiny' GP surgery instead.

The school site in Shrivenham's high street is empty as the primary school has relocated to new, larger premises on the Cross Trees Park development.

The old school went on the market at £1.5million in November 2023 and has been sold to an unknown buyer.

Oxford Mail: Former Shrivenham Primary School

Resident David Pratt has started a petition which has already gained 1,146 signatures to reverse the decision.

He said: “The original bid from the NHS was the maximum they could offer but the doctors and nurses are currently housed in a surgery built when this village population was less than 5,000 and which is now bursting at the seams.

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"For years we’ve been hoping that they could take on the school site – it’s so obviously the right thing to do.”

Mr Pratt said over 5,000 new houses have been built in recent years and "every possible space and corner have been converted to patient consultation rooms and this is still inadequate".

He believes the rules on how the property should be sold are outdated.

He said: "The Trust deed states the land was given for the education of Shrivenham children but it is our contention that a 150-year-old Trust deed is out of date and needs reforming.

"The ethos in that deed was obviously intended to benefit the community, schooling being the most pressing need in 1863. The current need is for a suitable GP surgery."

He added: "It would be a travesty if this site is to be developed commercially."

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District councillor Katherine Foxhall said it was "astounding to me that a very narrow 'best value' assessment will consider only the money that can be exchanged, and not what is best for this community".

She said: "We have the same problem with potential sites currently owned by the Ministry of Defence.

"They don’t need the land, but can only sell to the highest bidder.

"These rules need changing so that the wellbeing of communities comes first.”

Oxford Mail: Shrivenham CE Primary School at Cross Trees Park

A spokeswoman for The Barrington Family Charitable Trust said the site was given to the Shrivenham School Trust by Viscount Barrington in 1863 and "is solely for the benefit of the schooling of children of the village and cannot be used for any other purpose." 

She said the trustees have worked with the Faringdon Learning Trust, Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education which all have a stake in the new school and all proceeds of the sale will go towards it.

"The trustees are required by charity law to sell the original school site for the best possible price," she continued. 

"It is not open to the trustees to retain the present school site for purposes that fall outside the 1863 trust deed or to sell their land to a community enterprise, however admirable."