West Dorset District Council 'agrees sale' on Stratton House site

Stratton House in Dorchester
Image caption West Dorset District Council said Stratton House was unfit for purpose

A sale has been agreed on a Dorset council's old office premises, according to its leader.

Robert Gould, leader of West Dorset District Council, said the Stratton House site in Dorchester had been sold subject to contract.

He said it would be "inappropriate" to name the buyer or disclose the sale price until the deal is completed.

In December, councillors agreed to sell the site to the highest bidder after it failed to reach its £3.5m target.

The authority said the building was too expensive to run.

It has since moved to new £9.7m premises on Charles Street, which it said would mean an annual saving of £224,000 in running costs.

Mr Gould said the savings would help "keep council tax down".

'Early days'

The council said it was progressing with plans for the next phase of the Charles Street development.

In October, the council agreed to fund up to £2m towards preparatory work for the retail phase, which includes relocating Dorchester Community Church from Acland Road to Trinity Street.

Mr Gould said: "We are in discussions with the church about the relocation project and recently appointed an architect to prepare designs for the new building.

Image caption Construction of the Charles Street development began in June 2011

"It is early days, however, and the proposed final design will be subject to planning permission."

Phase one of the Charles Street development, which includes the council offices, a library and an adult learning centre, began in June 2011.

There had been concerns the £60m plans for phase two, which were approved in 2010 and had been due to include a hotel and an underground public car park, were "not financially viable".

Revised proposals for 24 flats in place of the hotel have since been approved by councillors.

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