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Dorset Council acquires £10m former school with mixed-use plans

Former independent boarding school, St Mary’s in Shaftesbury, Dorset, which closed in July, has been sold via Savills.

The former school was offered for sale by BDO and has been bought by Dorset Council for £10.05m.

St Mary’s occupies secluded grounds of 55 acres, in an elevated position. The main building was constructed in the late 19th Century as a private house in a Jacobean architectural style by Mark Beaufoy.

It was run as a hotel for a short time in the 1920s before being used by the US air force and American Red Cross in the Second World War. It was then adapted for use as a convent and more recently as a school. There is over 160,000 sq ft of buildings, which includes teaching and boarding accommodation, a chapel, playing fields, sports pitches, a swimming pool, gymnasium and woodland.

Cllr Spencer Flower Leader of Dorset Council, said, “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. 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.'