Plans to turn Ottery St Mary’s former children’s centre into a home – so cash from its sale can go towards a new school – have been approved.
Devon County Council (DCC) asked for the go-ahead to convert the Tip Hill building into a two-bedroom dwelling with parking and a garden.
The authority made the move after unsuccessfully marketing the premises – once a hall of the old Marist Convent – without planning permission for £170,000.
DCC refurbished the property in 2009 with Sure Start cash as part of a national roll-out of children’s centres.
The facility was run under contract by Action for Children. However, the council decided to cease the contract for Ottery, leaving the building with no use.
NPS South West Limited has been tasked with marketing the property on behalf of DCC.
In a heritage statement, the agent said the property was marketed between March and August with no offers being received.
The sales particulars state cash raised from the sale will be put towards the development of a new primary school for Tipton St John.
Plans for a £7.2million new primary school and 150 homes in Ottery were unveiled in October.
DCC says the bid would see flood-hit Tipton St John Primary School relocated from its village setting to a site on the town’s outskirts.
A plot owned by the authority at Thorne Farm – next to The King’s School – has been earmarked for the development.
The 210-place replacement school would be ‘significantly bigger’ and able to take more children from Ottery.
Planning authority East Devon District Council (EDDC) gave the change-of-use plans for the former children’s centre in Tip Hill the go-ahead.
Granting the scheme permission under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “The proposed conversion to residential would be appropriate in this location and would not harm the provision of children’s services in the area.”