A FORMER boarding school near Abingdon is set to be transformed into flats as part of a 'country estate' style development of more than 40 homes.

Proposals have been submitted to Vale of White Horse District Council to convert the 19th century manor house, which is located to the north of the A420 between Appleton and Besselsleigh, into 17 flats.

The application has been put in by developer Millgate Homes for the site,which was run until 2016 as Parklands Campus, with an additional 27 semi-detached and detached properties planned for the surrounding land.

A boiler house, part of the manor house, and a sports hall will all be demolished as part of the scheme.

Formerly Bessels Leigh School, it was taken over by children's charity Action for Children and relaunched as Spires School during the summer of 2009.

The school, which taught up to 30 pupils with autism, ADHD and behavioural difficulties, was further rebranded as Parklands Campus in 2011 before closing five years later.

The origins of the manor, an earlier version of which was demolished in the 1700s, date all the way back to the 12th century and this has formed the inspiration for Millgate Homes' development. Under the plans, three sets of houses would be built, each with their own style. A design and access statement submitted with the application stated: "The proposed development grouped the new buildings in specific character areas that was compatible with the narrative of a small country estate with the manor house at its heart.

"Original features guided the laying out of the proposal, creating a new stable court and buildings grouped within the remnants of the walled garden. Other houses were in the form of cottage orne, estate workers cottages and lodges.

"The walled garden was re-formed as a group of houses in a courtyard arrangement."

The existing modern addition to the manor house will be demolished and replaced by nine new apartments in the same style, with an additional eight within the original building.

The document said: "The aim has been to enhance the setting of the manor house whilst keep the development fairly compact within the previously developed area of the site, and to minimise the impact on the openness of the Green Belt and views from surrounding areas."

It added, following consultation with Appleton and Besselsleigh Parish Councils, as well as local residents, that the number of houses had been reduced, and that the removal of 'unsightly' existing buildings would overall leave a smaller imprint on the 10 hectare site.

The application is available to view online on the district council's website and a consultation is open until March 21.