St Joseph’s ‘snatched up’ for £12m
Council: School previously rented
Aberdeen City Council paid a Roman Catholic holy order more than £12 million to buy a school and the bishop’s residence in the west end of the city.
It has emerged the local authority bought St Joseph’s RC School and the adjoining residence for the Bishop of Aberdeen on Queens Road for a total of £12,115,000 in a deal made in February 2016, according to a freedom of information request by the P&J.
Before the sale, the council rented the school building from the Sisters of the Sacred Heart order.
By November 2016, plans had been approved for a new diocese base at the Chanonry in Old Aberdeen.
Options are still being assessed for what to do with the former bishop’s house.
Last night, former finance convener Willie Young, who was in power at the time of the sale, stressed the £12m was far less than the cost of building a new school from scratch.
He said: “We had always thought that the school should be part of the council’s school estate and, when the opportunity came, the council snatched it up. In my own view, that piece of land is worth more than £12m so no matter what happens in the future the taxpayer won’t lose out.”
Hazlehead, Queens Cross and Countesswells councillors Martin Greig and Jennifer Stewart also backed the purchase.
A council spokeswoman said the space at St Joseph’s is currently under review, adding the local authority is content it acquired the land for market value.