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Council votes to bid for former Budgens site in Shaftesbury

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Councillor in Shaftesbury have voted unanimously to make a bid for the former Budgens supermarket building in Bell Street.

The decision was taken at a full meeting of Shaftesbury Town Council  held on Wednesday 6 December where members also unanimously voted to put in a bid in for the site on the edge of the town known as The Wilderness.

No figures were given publicly for the maximum bids that the council is making.

But it is estimated the joint bids come to around £1.2million while development costs of the former Budgens supermarket building alone are expected to increase overall costs to more than £2 million.

Though at an earlier meeting some councillors had expressed concern about the potential risk to the council of buying the Budgens site, the council’s business manager Brie Logan said councillors were satisfied with the explanations given at Wednesday’s meeting.

‘We went through a completely transparent exercise in terms of expectations from a financial perspective,’ she said. ‘Councillors were very happy in the end.’

If the council are the successful bidder, it is still not clear what use will be made of the former supermarket building.

‘If we are the successful bidder we will go out to public consultation to find the most viable options,’ said Brie Logan. But some form of leisure use was part of the proposed mix. ‘Our preliminary plan has been based around employment, enterprise and leisure but nothing has been set in stone because this is a community-led project – and I have been working with the community on shaping those options,’ she said.

Meanwhile the area of land known as the The Wilderness, the site of an old quarry on the edge of town, would be preserved as it is, if the council is the successful bidder, said Brie Logan. ‘It will go out to consultation but what the community is saying to us is that they want to keep it as it is.’

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