PLANS to transform Devizes Wharf that have been scuppered numerous times over the last 15 years are back on the agenda.

The Trust for Devizes is delighted that Wiltshire Council held a meeting to discuss a new development brief and is optimistic that at long last something might be done to maximise its potential for leisure and tourist ventures.

Tony Duck from the trust said: "There appears to be a new impetus on this issue. The consultation was very positive and the potential outcomes will be beneficial for the town.

"The emphasis of the Trust's response is the importance of preserving the area as an open leisure space with limited development to sustain and encourage that usage.

"The creation of the continuous footpath to Lower Wharf is also an important objective."

The development brief being drawn up by Wiltshire Council follows the inclusion of a draft plan drawn up in 2011 in the Wiltshire Core Strategy. But for the past five years little or nothing has been done.

Now Mr Duck hopes that will change. He said: "One of the independent inspector's criticisms of the core strategy process has been the failure to update it to maintain its relevance. The Trust hopes the current effort to overcome that criticism will be sustained."

Wiltshire councillor Sue Evans is also pleased to see the spotlight once again fall on The Wharf. She said: "The presentation was very well attended. I am pleased that Wiltshire Council is looking at the area and asking local businesses stakeholders and councillors for their views. This project could be fantastic for Devizes but it is early days."

It will be discussed again by Devizes Area Board on September 26.

Back in 2001 Wiltshire County Council was astonished when the Heritage Lottery Fund turned down an application for an £11m scheme to build a Heritage Centre, housing the Wiltshire and Swindon Records Office, the Royal Photographic Society's collection, and the archives of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust was refused.

Later the South West Regional Development Agency and British Waterways collaborated on a plan for a strategic development at the Wharf, but the plug had been pulled on it before the consultants could produce a final report.

In 2008 a plan which included houses on the former gas works site, extending towards New Park Street and possibly taking in the former tyre workshop in Wharf Street was discussed. It also included a mixed development of shops and craft workshops on the Wharf car park with an extended Wharf Theatre with a new bar and restaurant.

But only the development of retirement flats went ahead.

The 2011 draft brief said that any area currently used for public events should remain open and new buildings should be small units for artisans. A cafe or restaurant should be encouraged and toilets made a priority.