A former school site will remain an asset for Dorset after being secured by the council.
Dorset Council has bought the former St Marys School site near Shaftesbury for £10.05m excluding taxes and fees. Opportunities to secure sites like this for Dorset are very rare.
Cllr Spencer Flower Leader of Dorset Council, told KeeP 106: This is a significant investment and I am pleased that we have been able to secure it for the benefit of our community. We are always looking at ways of improving the delivery of services and this successful purchase will help us achieve that.
We are very ambitious for the site. St Marys School comprises 165,000 sq ft of accommodation set within grounds of 55 acres. It is suitable for a broad range of services and community uses, which could include provision for Dorset children, supported living for our Dorset care leavers, provision for adults with disabilities, as well as a possible site for businesses to boost our local economy and more besides. We are committed to working with local people and stakeholder groups to get the mix of activity right so together we can achieve great things for this site and our community.
I realise people are asking how can we afford it, but this is a clear example of investing to save in the longer term. I dont want to pre-empt any decisions about the site, as we want to work with local people and groups first, but I can say that building a facility like this from scratch would cost considerably more. This is a unique opportunity and a very exciting chance to create something new that will greatly benefit our community.
The upcoming consultation, which will begin as soon as possible and will explore a number of possible uses for the site. Local people and stakeholder groups will be asked for their views and this feedback will be considered before a final decision on use is made. Details of the consultation and how people can get involved are being drawn-up and will be shared shortly.
The property sale was managed by real estate advisor Savills. Stuart Jones, Savills development director said: We are delighted to have delivered a successful outcome. St Marys is a significant site and we are pleased that it will remain a community asset.