Work has commenced on a £1.5 million project to build an auction house in Royal Wootton Bassett.

A former Co-op at 144 High Street is undergoing an extensive renovation that will bring a modern auction house to the town.

The auction house will be named RWB Auctions and is due to open its doors to the public in the Summer of 2023.

Owner Jon White hopes the project can reinvigorate the local high street.

He said: “It’s really exciting to see this project get underway and I’m looking forward to the doors opening next Summer.

“Having the auction house located on the high street is going to bring new visitors into our town, which I hope will benefit other local retailers and keep our high street vibrant for many years to come.”

David Horton Contractors, a local demolition expert, will strip out the building over the next three weeks.

Local construction company R J Leighfield & Sons will then begin the 30 week long construction of two auction rooms, a cafe and an art gallery with a rooftop terrace.

General manager Steve Bucknell highlighted the benefits of the project to the local economy.

He added: “From the very start we set out to partner with local businesses so we’re really happy to be using David Horton Contractors Ltd and R J Leighfield & Sons.

“We hope to be opening our doors around July or August next year and will be recruiting locally for a range of positions.”

In total it is expected that the opening of the new Auction House will create 14 jobs, on top of the sizeable contracts that have been awarded to the local contractors undertaking the renovations.

The site is adjacent to Old Bank Antiques, which has played host to a rare coin selling business and a precious metals company, as well as selling a range of antiques such as jewellery, furniture, ceramics and books, since Mr White opened it in 2019.

The beginning of construction marks a milestone in a long journey for Mr White, who bought the 9000 square feet worth of space in 2021.

Due to Covid-19 backlogs his application for change of use was not processed and approved until February of this year.

Now the project is finally underway as the reality of an auction house in Royal Wootton Bassett draws closer.