A SCHOOL abandoned after a child sex abuse scandal three decades ago is set to become a luxury party venue.

A manor house near Thatcham was home to the Crookham Court School — which shut down in 1989 after a BBC investigation revealed teachers were molesting teenage boys.

The building has been left empty since then. Its owners, however, have recently renovated and renamed the manor house, now called Pinchington Hall.

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Linda Beechey-Smith, who runs a luxury serviced apartments company, wants to use Pinchington Hall as a venue for “very high-end events”, like small weddings, corporate functions, exclusive concerts, art exhibitions, an open air cinema, and an AirBnB.

She has applied for a premises licence from West Berkshire Council to sell alcohol from a bar in the cellar, and to play live and recorded music both inside and outside the manor house.

The building has a long history, and is even mentioned in the Domesday Book. Built in its current form in 1850, it has been empty since 1989 — when the infamous boarding school shut down.

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Child abuse at the school was revealed in an investigation by the BBC’s That’s Life programme, in 1988. Three teachers and the owner of the school were later convicted of sexual abuse and sent to prison.

Ms Beechey-Smith set out her case for using Pinchington Hall as a venue to the council’s licensing committee, at a public meeting on May 18. She said: “It’s a beautiful renovation, and it’s a building that should be used. It shouldn’t stand empty for any longer.”

But neighbours raised concerns about how noisy Pinchington Hall would be, if granted a premises licence. The manor house is directly opposite Thornford Park: a secure psychiatric hospital.

Mike Bloomfield told the licensing committee that it was a “totally unsuitable location”. He said: “This is quite a peaceful, rural area. If Pinchington Hall becomes a party venue, there’s no way of stopping their noise affecting the countryside, and all who live in it.”

“A tranquil atmosphere is particularly important for a secure psychiatric hospital like Thornford Park. The hospital’s autistic patients are especially sensitive to noise, and they will suffer. It seems utterly crazy.”

Councillors on the licensing committee will decide over the next few days whether to grant the premises licence, and the council will publish the decision on its website by Tuesday, May 26.

The premises licence would likely allow a maximum of 120 guests, and music to be played outside until 11pm and inside until 12am. The exact conditions will be made clear, if and when the licence is granted.