Marlborough’s iconic Grade II listed building St Peter’s School has been put on the market. Wiltshire Council are selling the whole site through Carter Jonas’ Bath Offices – primarily with a view to it becoming a residential development.
Fronting onto The Parade and London Road, St Peter’s junior school, which had already joined with St Mary’s Infant school, closed in July 2017. The building has been empty ever since. The new Marlborough St Mary’s Primary school opened in September 2017 – providing a bright new building for both infants and juniors.
The sale is not a surprise as Wiltshire Council told the government it would be selling the site to help pay for the new school. As marlborough.news reported in November 2015, the Council wrote to the government that the site is “…in a prominent position in the town and would command a high market value for either residential or commercial development.”
It should also be mentioned that while the main costs of the new school were borne by central government, Wiltshire Council did contribute to those costs in order to ensure that the school was built on one level.
The details now published for prospective buyers describes the sale thus: “A unique opportunity to purchase an attractive former school building, sat in a plot of approximately 1.15 acres within the heart of the historic and popular market town of Marlborough. The property is suitable for a variety of potential uses including residential conversion and alternative commercial uses, subject to planning.”
Wiltshire Council has commissioned an architect to draw up two possible pre-planning application development schemes – one for 21 residential units and the other for 18. Most of these would be in the converted main building.
But both these schemes rely on building a new residential block of four units on the river side of the playground. And both these prototype schemes would involve parking places for 33 cars.
This development would require a number of the units to be affordable homes – probably 5 or 6 for affordable rent and four for shared ownership.
Marlborough.news has been told by one local expert that building on the southern part of the site – towards the river – would require piling. This would make that part of the development very costly.
A regards infrastructure, the development would attract Community Infrastructure Levy payments – and some specific payments for public amenities and four three extra secondary school places.
The school was built in 1904. There is one unusual hurdle for potential developers – not only is the building Listed, but so too are the iron railings along the front of the building.
The full information pack containing relevant planning, technical and legal information and the bidding procedure can be found and downloaded here.
In launching this sale of the building, has the Town Council been properly consulted by Wiltshire Council? In August 2017 the chairman of the Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, Councillor Mervyn Hall, wrote to Wiltshire Council urging them to work in partnership with the Town Council on future plans for the site.
The Leader of Wiltshire Council agreed to this. But, as far as marlborough.news can establish, there appears to have been little consultation with the Town Council. Wiltshire Council appear to have passed this duty on to any developer – they have simply included Councillor Hall’s letter in the pack of information available to those interested in buying the site.
The contact at Carter Jonas in Bath is firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOTNOTE: In ceasing to be St Peter’s School the building has become The Former St Peters School – but apostrophes are not Listed.