RESTAURANT owner Philip O’Shea wants to expand his business into the building next door to create a new hotel in Devizes.

Former estate agent Mr O’Shea, who runs The Peppermill restaurant with rooms above in St John’s Street, has applied to Wiltshire Council to convert the historic Crown Centre into The Peppermill Hotel.

The Crown Centre, which dates from 1538, was originally a coaching inn and later became a hotel which continued trading until 1966.

In 1969 it was turned into the Crown Centre which was run as a charity and was used as a meeting place for elderly and vulnerable people and other groups.

But in 2017 the manager Sam Wilson warned it would close unless more people started to use it.

Her worst fears were realised last summer and the centre closed on July 27.

Under the rules of the charity which owns the listed premises it was put up for sale and any money left after debts are paid will go to another good cause in the town.

A design statement sent to Wiltshire Council said: “Mr and Mrs O’Shea are in the process of purchasing the property.

“Their proposal is to convert the Crown Centre back into a hotel in conjunction with the existing Peppermill Hotel.

“The brief is to convert the building with as little alteration as possible to maintain the integrity of the building.

“However, the conversion must be economically viable to allow for the long term future of the building.”

The ground floor will be made up of a dining room and kitchen while the first floor will have three en-suite bedrooms and the second floor three more.

It says the front of the building would be redecorated to match the facade of the existing Peppermill restaurant. The Crown Centre has been up for sale with Martin Walker for the past year.

Devizes CCTV has continued to be based at the Crown Centre.