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2nd January 2023

A New Future for Apsley House?

Last week, the Swindon Advertiser ran an article entitled ‘Swindon Museum could become shops and restaurants under plans.’

The article featured architect’s impression of how the developer hopes to enhance the exterior of the building.

Local property developer, Arthur Dallimer has put forward plans to buy and develop Apsley House, once home of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

The museum closed for Covid on 21 March 2020, and closed for good in June 2021. Swindon Borough Council had failed to maintain the building and decided it needed too much investment to bring it back into use, and put it on the market. The Friends were successful in applying to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value.

South Swindon Parish Council triggered a six-month moratorium on the sale by expressing an interest in buying Apsley House. But after looking into the business case, and having the building surveyed they decided they couldn’t move forward with the project. Other people interested in buying it have until 5 January 2023 to submit their bids to SBC.

Fears expressed

There’s been fears expressed that Apsley House might share the fate of the Corn Exchange and the Oasis. Or that it would suffer conversion into HMOs and fall further into disrepair.

The building has been in community use as a museum for ninety years and as a gallery for sixty years. It occupies an important position at the heart of Old Town and must remain accessible to the community.

There’s a web a page where you can add your comments on the plans for Apsley Corner here:

The Friends have added this comment to the Apsley Corner ‘support us’ page:

‘When Friends learned that Apsley House was being sold by Swindon Borough Council, we were concerned that this historic building, open to the public since the 1930s, would no longer be generally accessible. Our hopes for the potential buyer included: someone with a creative vision and a track record of imaginative work who could improve the appearance of the building and include some public access, while providing opportunities for employment, for independent retailers and increased footfall to Old Town.

Arthur Dallimer’s proposals chime with everything we would hope for the building; breathing new life into it, and improving the Old Town offer; this aspirational plan is very positive for Old Town. Let’s do everything we can to make this happen.’

Below, courtesy of the Swindon Advertiser, is an artist’s impression of how Apsley House might look.

A New Future for Apsley House? - Artist's impression of how Apsley House might look.

A post over on Born Again Swindonian about the art gallery annexe when it was new:

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