Victorian schoolhouse saved with FW Capital North East Property Fund investment

Tony Cullen
Fund Manager
Tony Cullen / Camfero Homes

A derelict Victorian school will be transformed into luxury homes thanks to a £525,000 investment by FW Capital, which manages the North East Property Fund.

Camfero Homes Ltd secured the loan for the redevelopment of the 8,000 sq ft Marley Hill Primary School house on the A692 outside Sunniside.

The historic school, which was originally built for the children of local colliery workers in 1895, has been vacant for almost a decade.

Now thanks to the FW Capital investment, two new homes have been created, with many of the building’s original features preserved. Work is expected to be completed by the summer.

Camfero Homes was set up by experienced property professionals Andrew Burnett and Richard Buckley with the purpose of focusing on the refurbishment of old historic buildings.

The scheme is part of the wider multi-million-pound regeneration of the entire site including the former playground area by Bede Homes, another of Andrew and Richard’s development companies.

The North East Property Fund was established with the aim of supporting the development of small-scale property schemes and is backed by Santander and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

It offers loans from £250,000 up to £1m for residential and non-speculative commercial developments in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham. The fund can provide up to 100% of build costs for suitable schemes with repayment terms available up to two years.

Andrew Burnett, Camfero Homes Director, said: “This is a sympathetic restoration of a beautiful Victorian school house to create two new five-bedroom luxury homes with associated parking and garden space.

“FW Capital were great to work with. They completely understood what we needed and it was a straightforward and efficient process throughout.”

Tony Cullen, Investment Executive at FW Capital, said: “Camfero Homes is led by a highly-skilled team of property professionals with many years of experience.

“This development of high-quality properties will bring a wonderful building back into use and conserve it for future generations. It’s a pleasure to have provided support to help make that happen.”

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP, said: “The North East Property Fund continues to deliver what it was set up to do, providing smaller construction firms with the backing to pursue projects to create new housing and it’s particularly pleasing to see an old building being given a new lease of life.”

Stephen Carmichael, Relationship Director, Santander UK, commented: “We are delighted to be part of this project which will breathe life back into this historic building while maintaining its integrity. The project is being led by small businesses but will have a big impact on the local area.”