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Published: 12:00, 14 November 2019
A Victorian Grade-II listed public building is to be sold after councillors agreed to go ahead with a sale.
Kent County Council is in the final stages of reaching a deal with a buyer for the former Sittingbourne Adult Education Centre in College Road, Sittingbourne.
A spokesman said they could not reveal the identity of the purchaser or their intentions for the site, home of the original Borden Grammar School. Previously, it had been earmarked for housing.
Members of KCC’s Policy and Resources Cabinet Committee met on Friday to talk about the sale in a ‘behind-closed-doors session’.
A report prepared for councillors said the 4.7-acre site also included 2.7 acres used for playing fields.
It added: “The former Adult Education Centre is a Grade-II listed former school building.
“The main building is in good structural condition.
'The main building is in good structural condition' - KCC report
“A number of pre-fabricated buildings exist to the [back] of the main building and these are in varying conditions having obviously passed their expected life.”
Officers recommended councillors give the go-ahead for the authority’s infrastructure chief to “finalise the selected purchaser and terms of the proposed sale”.
The report added: “There is a grassland area to the west of the site which is signposted on site as private property.
“It is observed that a number of people use the playing fields as amenity space.
“A number of the trees are protected by statutory preservation orders on the perimeter of the site.”
KCC’s Adult Education Centre stopped using the building more than two years ago.
Since then it temporarily used to house other KCC services.
It is now empty except for security officers.
In 2017, the Planning Inspectorate concluded an application to tear down the Victorian building and build eight flats in its place would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area.
Officials said considerable interest was shown during a marketing campaign earlier in the year and five offers were received.
'It is observed that a number of people use the playing fields as amenity space' - KCC report
The report added: “Further discussions have been held with three of the parties to enable detailed comparison and consideration of these offers.
“A preferred bidder has been selected.”
A KCC spokesman could not reveal the name of the preferred bidder or the sum of money involved.
Adult Education sessions are now held at the London Road Trading Estate in Sittingbourne.
Courses include computing, accounting and beauty.
The move was first mooted in 2016 when plans were considered for the service in Sittingbourne to move.
More by this authorEllis Stephenson