PLANS to retain the former St Peter’s Primary School building in Devizes and convert it into housing have been welcomed.

The school, in Bath Road, closed in April 2012 when pupils relocated to the new Trinity Primary School on the Quakers Walk housing estate off London Road.

Salisbury Diocesan Board of Education, which owns the building, had previously wanted to demolish the school building and create 38 homes on the site.

But after concerns from Wiltshire Council planning officers and residents who said the school building should remain, the board reduced the number of proposed homes to a maximum of 26.

The school building is not listed and dates back to 1870.

The board has submitted an outline planning application to retain and convert the principal school buildings into nine homes, mainly apartments. In addition, ten semi-detached homes are proposed to be built behind the school along the southern boundary and a terrace of six homes for the eastern boundary of the site. A total of 69 car parking spaces would be provided.

The board proposes to remove small sections of the school building that it says are insignificant and of no historic interest, including a stairwell on the eastern corner and a flat roof extension to the south western corner where the former kitchens were.

In the planning application, its agents Savills said: “The proposed development would bring forward housing in a suitable location in an appropriate way, whilst safeguarding the future of the former school building and without giving rise to adverse environmental effects.”

Devizes Town Council’s planning committee raised no objections to the plans.

Town councillor Sue Evans said: “I was pleased to see the front of the building not changed. I would like to see a community room there as the school did have a community room where a lot of residents had meetings.”

John Baumber, on behalf of The Trust for Devizes, said: “We are delighted that the developers in this case have found a way of keeping the school main structure which is vital to preserve the ethos of the town.

“The proposed property density suits the site and provides a good number of dwellings that supports the Devizes Neighbourhood Plan in utilising a brownfield site.”