A GROUP of 30 new homes were officially opened by the Mayor of Poole on Tuesday on the former site of Hamworthy First School.

The new houses, on Old School Place, have been built just off Blandford Road, on land which has been unused since 2004, when the school closed, which was destroyed by fire two years later.

Mayor of Poole, Cllr Peter Adams, was joined by Christine Turner, chairman of Spectrum Premier Homes and Richard Hill, chief executive of Spectrum Housing Group, to unveil the homes.

They also planted two fruit trees in memory of two pupils of the school, who died in 1965.

The Mayor of Poole said: “The buildings are well-equipped and the scenery is beautiful. A high priority for the town is to offer as much affordable housing as we can and this will help greatly.

He added that the mix of affordable rented homes, which have been allocated by Borough of Poole as Forever Homes, shared partnership properties and a number on the open-market could be ‘the formula for the future’.

The locally listed Victorian school building has been split into four homes, after the windows, entrances and roof were restored or recreated by Poole Bay builders.

Christine Turner, Chairman of Spectrum Premier Homes, the development subsidiary of Spectrum Housing Group, said: “It’s a partnership approach both with the Borough of Poole and with our local contractors.

She added: “Our overall aim is to provide as many affordable homes as we possibly can.

“This particular project cost us in the region of £3.5million and includes five shared ownership, and five open market sale, which is a big step for Spectrum, so we are pleased that they have been so successful.”

Ann Wood, a former pupil of the school, and Ann Smeaton, who was a teacher at Hamworthy First School from 1974 to 2002, and came back to visit for the opening.

Ann Smeaton said: “I have walked through the front doors of the old school house many times.

“It was nice to see the new parts of the building blended with the old.”