THE sale of a Victorian abbey in Worcestershire, which has been on the market for nearly three years, has collapsed once again.

A charitable Christian trust had been on the verge of sealing a deal for Stanbrook Abbey, in Callow End, near Worcester, when it submitted a substantially reduced offer last week.

Jonathan Mountford, commercial director for Andrew Grant, said the original offer had been accepted some months ago but the revised amount was not acceptable.

This means the abbey, home to an order of Benedictine nuns for 170 years, could be left empty and at risk of serious deterioration from next March when the 25 nuns will be moving to a new purpose-built monastery in Wass, North Yorkshire.

Mr Mountford, who has been in the business of selling commercial properties for the past 18 years, says the abbey sale has been the most difficult one he has ever handled.

“It is proving to be the most difficult property to shift. It is because it is a monastery and the problem is that Malvern Hills District Council does not want to see it used as anything else.

“Come the spring next year, that place will become vacant and it will get vandalised and fall into ruin.

“The new monastery is three quarters finished and will be ready in March and the nuns are going,” said Mr Mountford.

He said the Christian trust had planned to use it as a retreat and conference centre for Christian groups but then they added extra uses such as a venue for music recitals and readings as well as extending the facilities to provide hospital care.

The highways authority then said road widening would be required because of the additional traffic generated and the trust then put in its substantially revised offer, he added.

The abbey first went on the market in January 2006 for £6 million and was remarketed for £5.5 million at the start of this year after a sale failed to go through.