The former home of Swindon Museum and Art gallery, Apsley House, has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, due to the limited space and split levels of the building, meaning social distancing was challenging.
This museum and art collections have been moved by Swindon Borough Council semi-permanently to the Council's Civic Offices in Euclid Street, until new plans are made for a different facility in Swindon's Cultural Quarter.
The Council has since begun marketing Apsley House so it can be used again, and preparations are in the process of being created to begin the new home at the Civic Offices; with some of the collection already being shown.
Swindon Borough Council has legally obliged to offer the building to all community organisations first who will have 6 weeks to determine if they would like to trigger a moratorium, as the property has been registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).
The process of a moratorium does not mean the Council needs to pass the property to a community group or at a discounted price, it would enable community groups 6 months minimum to look to buy the property and combine bids to look to buy whilst it is being marketed. The council would not be able to sell it to any other organisation before the date.
The money raised from the sale of this building would support the delivery of a new spot for the museum and art gallery within Swindon's Cultural Quarter.
Apsley House may be of interest to those looking to take on a redevelopment alongside those with potential community interest, as the lower floors of the building being subdivided.
Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Finance and Commercialisation, said: “Apsley House holds a special place in the hearts of many local residents and we want to ensure it is brought back into use as soon as is practically possible.
“We have already had some interest, but will wait to hear from community groups and organisations in the first instance to see if they would want to trigger the moratorium as part of the sale process.
“The Grade II listing means Apsley House itself will be protected and I look forward to seeing what proposals come forward.”