Wiltshire Museum has revealed their latest plans for the Devizes Assize Court, with an initial funding bid set to be submitted in February.

The museum confirmed they would be moving into the Grade II listed building, which has been derelict since 1985 and on the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register for over 20 years, last year.

They are now on course to apply for their first round of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund by February 23.

If successful, this funding would amount to £314,000, which would need to be matched by the museum, for the planning phase of the development.

A further bid would then need to be put in for a further £4.7 million to finance the restoration and construction phase. The total cost of the project is expected to rise to around £12 million, meaning the museum will have to find a further £7.4 million of its own funding.

This was kickstarted by a £50,000 grant from Devizes Town Council in October.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Plans for the new museum in the Assizes.Plans for the new museum in the Assizes. (Image: Wiltshire Museum)

Museum director David Dawson says that rising costs have altered plans for the Assizes, but he is confident the museum can raise the extra £7.4 million that is required.

He said: “It will be an interesting challenge, but I’ve got a pretty good idea where most of that will come from.

“There are various trusts and foundations and to have the support of the town council is great.

“We had ideas as to how we would use the building for the community but unfortunately with Covid-19, the cost of living crisis and changes to the way the fund works we can’t afford to do that.

“We’ve come up with a new four stage programme where the first stage will be to restore the building and make it into a museum.”

The plans for this restoration are not yet set, but initial ideas have been revealed showcasing a chalk horse atrium installation, alongside several galleries with one telling the ‘story of Devizes’.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: A planned installation at the museum.A planned installation at the museum. (Image: Wiltshire Museum)

There are also plans for community facilities at the museum, including a cafe and a dedicated learning space.

The museum claim their vision for the building is “a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive cultural hub at the heart of the community.”

The building has been owned by Devizes Assize Court Trust since 2018 but will be occupied and run by the museum.

The current timeline will see a decision made on the funding request in Spring 2023, while the museum plans to complete the move by 2030 if all goes well.