Old Palace School site covenants

June 2024

Given there are rumours of all or part of the Old Palace School Site in Melville being put up for sale here is a history of the site and its Covenants based on Land Registry documents.

It is a bit confusing but there are six entries in the Land Register for the site we know as either the Old Palace Junior School or the Croham Hurst Girls School .
The main two are Old Palace Of John Whitgift Junior School, Melville Avenue, South Croydon, CR2 7YN (Freehold). Title number: SY220254, and;

Croham Hurst School, 79 Croham Road, South Croydon (CR2 7YN) (Freehold). Title Number: SY227592.

In addition there are three lots of “land and buildings forming part of Croham Hurst School, Melville Avenue” and lastly there is “land on the East side of Melville Avenue, South Croydon” which I presume to be the old Swimming Pool and car park.

Looking at the first entry – the Old Palace Junior School – its site map shows the Edwardian (?) building, The Limes, and the field to the right of it.  The site has one restriction and two covenants on it.

The first covenant was registered by the Whitgift Foundation at the time of the sale of the land by them to Donald Young on the 5th October 1905. The covenant does not restrict the number of houses but it does state the minimum values of the houses to be built. Houses to be built within 200ft of Croham Road had to be of value £1,000 and of value of £600 elsewhere on the plot.

The second covenant is between Donald Young and Arthur Stephen Withers Moore dated 1st September 1910 imposed as Douglas Young sold on the plot. This covenant states that “no more than five detached dwelling houses houses may be built on that element of the plot not already built upon and that the houses must be of value of more than £1,000.” The restriction is that the land cannot be sold without agreement from the Charity Commissioners,

Looking at the second entry – the Croham Hurst School site – its site map shows the area which is now from the double netball court down to Croham Road – less a chunk on the corner of Croham Road and Melville avenue. So a right angle shape.

This has the same Charity restrictions and the two covenants. The only difference is the second covenant was between Donald Young and David Stanley Hodge, George Reader and Augusta Fanny Mander (purchaser) and dated 8th May 1912 not 1910. I have not asked the land registry for the details of these covenants but have no reason to believe that the Whitgift Covenants and the Donald Young Covenants were not similar to those for the Old Palace School site mentioned above.

The third site, the first of the “land and buildings forming part of Croham Hurst School, Melville Avenue” also has a slightly confusing layout comprising two blocks of land surrounding the actual Croham Hurst School site as follows;

These blocks were sold on by Douglas Young on 22nd March 1912 and the covenant registered on that date was between  David Stanley Hodge, George Reader, Douglas Young, Theodora Elizabeth Clark and Kathleen Mary Ellis. Once again I have no reason to believe this covenant was any different than the one Douglas Young imposed on the Old Palace School site i.e. a restriction in the number of dwelling houses to be built on the site.
I have not looked further at the remaining three plots but expect the pattern of covenants to continue. The question we have as residents is – given these covenants do not have a variation clause – what do we want to do to encourage any purchaser of all of part of the site to respect the covenants taking into account we are 100 years on from the time they were imposed?  Food for thought.