A town council hopes to turn its Market Place into a “vibrant hub” in a potential overhaul of the area.

Devizes Town Council intends to put together a plan for the future of the town’s Market Place at some point in the future, in order to react to the changing demands of its users.

Speaking on behalf of the town council, town clerk Simon Fisher and Cllrs Jonathan Hunter and Peter Corbett said they were not yet “quite ready” to take on such a large project while they focused on other schemes.

But once other projects are completed, the council hopes to consult the community on the future of a key location in the town centre.

Mr Fisher said: “All we know is at some point we need to do something, it’s a project we need to take on.

“Many years ago, the Market Place was seen as a car park, that was its principal role, that has changed quite dramatically over the last few years.

“People see it as a space to enjoy as much as a space to park, that’s part of its flexibility, but at some point we need to take a more serious look at a permanent arrangement.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Market PlaceDevizes Market Place (Image: Newsquest)

Improvements made to the appearance of the area last year included greening the site by planting several trees, while seating has also been added since the pandemic.

Cllr Hunter believes these alterations could be the start of a “huge opportunity” for a larger overhaul of the car park, although it is not yet clear what this would include.

He added: “If you take Salisbury as a model, the Market Place which was formerly a car park is now very busy, a great vibe, you’ll see conversations and laughter, traders, and lots of people there.

“It’s a real vibrant hub, so there’s lots of things around I think Devizes can look at and think ‘what will that look like for us in the future?’

“It’s a vision where the Market Place is integral, supports the town, and doesn’t alienate anyone.

“It’s also about what the car’s relationship with Devizes looks like in five, 10 or 20 years, we want to get it right and get it right for everyone.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Market PlaceDevizes Market Place (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Corbett emphasised that any changes would be “well down the line” but should help to empower market traders.

“It’s important we support our traders because one of the reasons people come to Devizes is the great mix of independent shops”, he said.

“We are blessed that there is never a problem parking in Devizes and the car parks are never full.”

Any scheme for the transformation of the Market Place would involve community consultation to help shape the future of the area.

The recognition of the need to rejuvenate the town centre feature comes as the town council looks to increase its role in the community.

Mr Fisher added: “It’s quite important to recognise that local government is changing, we’ve taken over a number of services.

“I think we’ve stepped up to the plate and we’re now taking more enquiries about things that are worrying people.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Market PlaceDevizes Market Place (Image: Newsquest)

This has involved investing in youth services, to empower young people and tackle anti-social behaviour in the town, and trying to increase sustainability.

It is hoped any developments at the Market Place would tie into the council’s environmental goals.

Cllr Hunter added: “We’re now in a time where we have to listen to air quality considerations.

“We’re seeing councils being clear on air quality at city level and these questions will come all the way down to village and town level.”