St Joseph’s ‘snatched up’ for £12m

Coun­cil: School pre­vi­ously rented

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY JON HEBDITCH

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.

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