A VICTORIAN house previously earmarked for demolition has been incorporated into new plans for the expansion of a Bournemouth primary school.

The house, converted from a hotel to seven flats and a maisonette six years ago, is in a conservation area and was bought by the council before it had secured planning permission to pull it down as part of a scheme to extend St Michael’s School on the West Cliff.

The council had already agreed to pay out more than £900,000 on the deal, with two flats on long leases still to acquire, when its conservation officer argued that bulldozing the house in Somerville Road would be “unacceptable”.

Members of the planning board rejected demolition by just one vote. That decision was endorsed following a residents’ deputation and petition to full council at the end of July.

The architects had originally rejected the idea of converting the villa on a number of grounds, including ceiling heights, floor layouts and the need to make substantial structural alterations to achieve big enough classrooms.

They were asked to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that would leave the house and a 100-year-old beech tree in the grounds intact.

The £5.5 million revamp of the school is being financed by the government to create an extra 30 reception places in September next year, adding up to 210 more places over the next seven years.