Wiltshire Council is continuing to monitor the ongoing development of a derelict town centre pub after slapping the owners with an enforcement notice.

In April the owners of the former Royal Oak Inn, on New Park Street in Devizes, were hit with an enforcement notice after a conservation officer reportedly claimed the building appeared “abandoned” and in a “poor condition.”

Developer Webb Construction was granted planning permission to convert the former pub into residential apartments three years ago, but concerns were raised over the lack of progress made at the Grade II listed building.

This prompted the council to serve a Section 330 enforcement notice seeking clarification on the ownership.

The expiration date for the approved scheme to begin is November 23 this year, and the council has now confirmed that internal works have started at the address.

They remain in negotiations with the developers and are continuing to monitor the property with an enforcement file still open.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Royal Oak, DevizesThe Royal Oak, Devizes (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Nick Botterill, the cabinet member for development management, said: “No formal enforcement action has been taken as negotiations with the owner of the property are ongoing and because internal works approved under consent reference 20/07650/LBC have now commenced.

“The owner of the property has advised that these works are part of the planned overall refurbishment of the building, including to its external appearance. 

“We will continue to monitor the property and so the enforcement file remains open.”

The prominent building was in use as a Fullers owned pub until around ten years ago, before being turned into an antiques store which remained open for several years.

In November 2019, David Webb, of Webb Construction in Oxfordshire, bought the property for £200,000 before lodging a planning application to demolish a part of the listed building and convert it into new homes.

But the lack of work to the outside of the property during the last three years prompted concern from the Trust for Devizes, who claimed in April that the building had been allowed to “decay.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Royal Oak Devizes in AprilThe Royal Oak Devizes in April (Image: Newsquest)

At the time, secretary Phillipa Morgan said: “It’s effectively been left to decay and it’s very sad because it’s crumbling and it’s a Grade II listed building.

“It’s been an ongoing issue for many years and we’re very concerned because it’s on the main road through Devizes and it makes the town look very scruffy.”

Webb Construction did not respond to an approach for comment.