Commercial property lawyers help specialist college secure second premises in Tewkesbury

(left to right) Ian Hardicker (Norton College), Alastair Frew (Lodders Solicitors), Edward Morris (Norton College).

A Worcestershire college that has consistently received Outstanding Ofsted ratings for its unique work with challenged and challenging young people has secured new premises for a second college in Tewkesbury with advice from the commercial property team at Midlands law firm Lodders.

Lodders partner Alastair Frew secured the 60,000 sq. ft two storey former training school on Tewkesbury Business Park on a ten-year lease, to provide Norton College with the ‘ideal’ space, layout and building in a perfect location for its second site.

The privately operated Norton College opened in Worcester in 2010 and ultimately reached capacity with around 80 students every year, many of whom have turned their lives and futures around, gaining GCSEs and ‘skills for life’, and full time work and apprenticeships.

Alastair Frew, a commercial property lawyer, led Lodders team that provided commercial conveyancing and landlord and tenant legal advice to Norton College’s board of directors, led by long-standing Lodders client and former business owner Edward Morris.

He says: “The competitive lease means the college is able to open a much-need second location, to extend its unique support of young people who have fallen outside of the mainstream educational system, from a key Gloucestershire location.”

In a prime location on the Tewkesbury Business Park just off Junction 9 of the M5, the detached warehouse and office building was originally designed and built for training and education. For the college, the premises deliver not only the size and site ideal for the provision of the college’s ground-breaking educational, social and life skills based programme, but are also highly accessible for all students and the professionals who support them, such as social workers.

“It was important to secure the premises for the second college, but essential that the deal was made on favourable and fair financial lease terms,” added Alastair. “Negotiations also involved gaining landlord approval for a number of adaptations necessary for the team to be able to deliver the education and work with some of society’s most vulnerable and forgotten young people.”

Edward Morris added: “Norton College’s Tewkesbury premises represent a significant and important step. Thanks to Alastair’s tenacity, legal skill and attention to detail at every step of the way, combined with additional advice from head of Lodders’ Dispute Resolution practice Jane Senior, the college has been able to secure its new premises with a favourable lease.”

Ian Hardicker is Education Director of Norton College. He devised the college’s educational concept when he left mainstream education after many years, including three headship posts, and launched the first Norton College in Worcester.

He explains: “I left local authority education to set up Norton College and deliver a radical new approach to education that is based on a programme designed for and tailored to the needs of a small section of young people who have been failed by the standard education system. The programme removes the barriers to education for the most vulnerable young people, with a curriculum that matches their needs, wants, desires and aspirations, and treats them with kindness, warmth and compassion.

“The Tewkesbury College is now on schedule to have forty students this academic year, fulfilling our objective to deliver our offering to more young people.

“It will be a college that will give students the opportunity to be successful where they feel they’ve been let down previously.”