PLANS to renovate an old church to become an extension of a museum in Malmesbury have been given the go-ahead after planning permission was granted.

The old Moravian Church in Malmesbury will soon be converted into an extension of Athelstan Museum by the Friends of Athelstan Museum group.

The building will allow more room for the museum to hold educational exhibitions such as after school clubs, lectures and workshops.

Roger Griffin, former chairman of Friends of Athelstan Museum and fundraiser said: “We are absolutely thrilled to bits to gain the permission we need to start this project.

“It’s a little bit like a game of snakes and ladders, we have now reached a ladder and are on our way up, but there are very likely to be more ladders and set backs, or snakes, during the project.

“But we are very happy to be on the next phase and have plans all ready to go ahead to make the most of this magnificent building.”

After holding several educational sessions the Friends of Athelstan Museum decided they needed extra space for educational based events, as well as more room for their collections and travelling exhibitions.

The project is being funded by the generosity of members and supporters of the museum and some grants from the European Union and local organisations such as the Rotary Club.

With hopes to start the building work within the next two months, Mr Griffin and the Friends of Athelstan Museum are eager to see the project get underway.

He said: “It has taken about three months for the permission to be granted, and we have not had any real problems as we have been working with them so closely to make sure they were happy with the plans.

“Once the work starts, it should take around six months to complete, but realistically it could take up to eight. We are all very excited to see the work start.”