ESTATE agent John Robinson isn't trying to get in on the act of selling the iconic Assize Court building in Devizes but his firm is to give money to a fund set up to restore it.

Mr Robinson, who is a director of Hunter French in Devizes, has pledged the firm will give £100 for each house it sells during the coming year which he expects to be more than £6,000.

In November the newly formed Devizes Assize Court Trust announced it had bought the court house fro £475,000 from businessman Suleiman Dockrat and was launching a campaign to raise £10 million to transform the building into a new home for Wiltshire Museum and a community space.

Mr Robinson, who has worked in Devizes for 25 years and lives in a nearby village, said: "I am fully behind the fundraising. It is such a shame that this beautiful building has fallen into such a sorry state. I hope other companies will join in the fundraising."

Robert Hunt-Grubbe, the vice-chairman of the Devizes Assize Court Trust, thanked Mr Robinson for his firm's generosity. He said: "We know this is a huge project and it is probably going to take ten years to complete.

He said: "It is vital that we succeed. We need to restore this building so it can become home to the museum and boost tourism in Devizes and the rest of Wiltshire."

He pointed to information given at a tourism seminar which revealed that tourism in Wiltshire provided 29,000 jobs and turned over around £1.4bn a year which is five per cent of the county's economy.

Mr Hunt-Grubbe has led by example by making a donation which allowed the purchase of the Assize Court possible.

The Trust For Devizes is to hold a meeting about the future of the Assize Court on January 24 at the Town Hall with doors opening at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. The trust has been campaigning for the historic building to be saved for many years and is determined to play an important part in discussions.

Philippa Morgan from the heritage group said: "There is still an enormous amount of work to be done to raise the funds needed over the next 10 years but, from now on, the project is in safe hands.

"The Devizes Assize Court Trust will be working with the community as it develops its plans and we look forward to the Trust playing a major part in that process."

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