Former preparatory school and nursery sold to Bury early years operator

Grafton House

A former preparatory school and nursery in Ashton-under-Lyne has been sold to Bury-based Welcome Nurseries, for an undisclosed sum.

Grafton House was sold by specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co.

Established in 1991, it is a non-selective, co-educational school with capacity for 150 pupils, and Little Grafters is an adjoining children’s day nursery with effective operating capacity for 62 children, providing care and education for children aged 0-11 years.

It is set within a beautiful renovated Victorian property which occupies a prominent and busy central position within easy reach of major commuter routes and enjoys a high level of footfall and passing traffic with a range of local amenities and public transport links.

Previous owner, Elaine Sagar, purchased the business in June 2008 after she had been a parent at the school for a number of years.

Welcome Nurseries has now acquired the site, following the addition of 18 more settings to its portfolio in the past four months, taking the group to more than 50 sites across the country.

Elaine Sagar said: “We were excited to sign over our first nursery, Grafton House, to Jonathan Jay and Linda Cuddy at The Welcome Nurseries. This is not a full exit for me as we will continue to provide education at our Stalybridge and Hyde sites, as well as continuing to support and train colleagues in the sector which is important to us.”

She added: “Having been part of the Grafton House family for 20 years, as firstly a parent in the prep school and subsequently as an owner, the building holds many memories. We wish Welcome all the best as they take occupancy of the beautiful town centre site and add it to their growing portfolio.”

Sofia Beck, associate director at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said: “Grafton House held many memories for Elaine after 20 years of being connected to the property and this being the first setting of her established group.

“When one door closes, another one opens and, as Elaine continues to be a pivotal member of the early years community and exceptional local provider with her flourishing Hyde and Stalybridge settings, I wish her lots of new exciting opportunities.

“This purchase sees Welcome Nurseries’ swift expansion plan continue to build and I wish them all the best with this impressive new site.

“The day nursery market continues to thrive, and we have started to see operators feel more stable about progressing with exit strategies that may have been put on hold due to the pandemic.”

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