Apsley House

South Swindon Parish Council have decided to trigger the moratorium for the sale of Apsley House as of the 19th July.

The Parish Council has given formal notice to Swindon Borough Council to be treated as a potential bidder in relation to the sale of Apsley House and therefore commence the moratorium of six months, which will end in January.

A Grade II listed building, Aspley House was built between 1830 and 1840, initially used as a residence before becoming a museum and art gallery.

The building is listed as an Asset of Community Value, so the local authority must legally offer it to groups around the town, who have six weeks to trigger a moratorium, which South Swindon Parish Council have done.

The Parish Council now have six months to put together a bid for the property.

Statement from Chris Watts, Chair, South Swindon Parish Council:

“I was pleased to have proposed the motion to the Parish Full Council meeting and also pleased to have received unanimous cross-party support. The moratorium will give time and space for the Parish Council to survey the structure, investigate the potential of the facility and produce a feasibility study and business proposal.

“We were disappointed that Swindon Borough Council did not give due consideration to the previous proposal to temporarily transfer the facility to the Parish Council to run whilst the town waited ten to fifteen years for the cultural quarter project to come to fruition. The closure of the Museum and Art Gallery was a great loss to Old Town and the wider community and, as a listed building, Apsley House is an iconic piece of Swindon history and heritage as demonstrated by the level of outcry when the Museum and Art gallery was closed.”

Statement from Neil Hopkins, Chair of Leisure and Amenities, South Swindon Parish Council:

“In the five years that the Parish has been in existence we have been committed, not only to protecting and renovating heritage assets, but ensuring that these assets are put back into use.

“When we took the lease for the formal parks in 2019, they were tired, run down, underinvested and at risk, if not for the heroic work of the gardeners in difficult times. Regenerating the formal parks has allowed us to increase events, such as music concerts, outdoors theatre and the Enchanted Gardens Christmas Lights. It is this style of progressive policy towards Parish Council assets that ensure we can provide much needed amenity, service and value for money for residents.

“By triggering the moratorium we would seek to apply the same values and principles to Apsley House and will be working hard to attain this goal if indeed it is feasible for the Parish to take on this property.”