WEST Dorset District Council has sold its former offices at Stratton House in Dorchester – for half of what it originally hoped to raise.

The campus has been sold to Stratton House Developments (Bournemouth) Ltd, a subsidiary of Culverdene Properties Ltd for £1.526million.

The deal covers properties in High West Street, Glyde Path Road, Colliton Street and Grey School Passage.

Dorchester’s historic Shire Hall is not included in the sale and will be developed as a visitor attraction in a project led by the district council.

The council is believed to have been hoping for around £3m from the sale, but the authority claims the relocation to its new headquarters in South Walks will still achieve an overall saving.

Leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould said: “I am pleased to announce that the Stratton House campus has now been sold. This marks the end of the project to relocate West Dorset District Council to smaller, cheaper and greener offices at South Walks House.

“Although the sale amount is lower than originally expected, the council was not reliant upon the sale of the Stratton House campus to fund the building of South Walks House.

“Money from the sale of Stratton House will now be available to fund other capital projects that we may wish to undertake in the future.

“The new £9.7million offices at South Walks House were completed £1million under budget and have considerably lower running costs than the collection of buildings at the Stratton House campus.

“The lower running costs of the smaller and greener offices will lead to annual savings which will help the district council protect key services and keep council tax down.”

Hayley Miller, who is working on the project on behalf of Culverdene Properties, said the firm would take its time in deciding what to do with the site, but the aim was to mainly develop it as residential units.

She said: “It is obviously an incredible site and one of those ones that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – the history that goes along with it is just incredible.

“Obviously we have the utmost respect for where it’s come from, its background and its links.

“It’s one of those things that can’t be rushed. We are trying to get as much residential use as we can on the site but we have to assess our options and see what is going to keep everyone happy.”