RESIDENTS in Purton hope that any developer who takes on the former site of St Mary’s School will keep the integrity of the building.

Colliers International is looking for a developer to convert the old Victorian building into eight new two or three-bedroomed homes.

But residents are hoping that developers will convert the site and make use of the historic building, which dates back to 1884.

Linda Roberts, who lives in College Road next door to the old school, said: “We haven’t lived here for very long and when we moved here about a year ago we knew there were plans but we still wanted to move here because it is such a lovely village.

“It is such a beautiful building I just hope that they keep it in line with the building and the nature of the village. I don’t think it will bother us so much.

“But it is good if they get someone in because it is becoming a bit decrepit, even in the time we’ve been here.”

Another resident, Kirsty Knight, agreed that provided any development kept to the original style of the building it would be a positive thing for the village.

The 41-year-old said: “I think it would be good to get someone in there. It seems a shame to let the building go to waste and not use it.

“I would rather it was used than demolished because it is a nice building and it has historical interest.”

In 2010 the infant school closed when it joined the junior school a little further along College Road, at which point the building was passed back to the Diocese of Bristol.

The Bristol Diocesan Board of Finance and School Trustees have now asked Colliers International to sell the building.

A detailed planning application has already been submitted to Wiltshire Council for the work on the former school, and is currently pending a final decision.

Ben Meynell, a surveyor with Colliers International’s development consulting team said: “The former school is a distinctive Victorian building occupying the central part of the 0.6-acre site and will help to retain the character of the village whilst helping to bridge the gap between old and new.’’ The main school building is mostly single storey with double height windows but there is an additional floor above the main entrance hall.

For further details and to register an interest in the site, call Ben Meynell, Development Consulting and Agency, on 0117 917 2000.