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Historic ceiling could stop Aldi being built in Westbury
6:00pm Sunday 28th October 2012 in Latest News
Plans to build a new Aldi store in Westbury may be delayed, only weeks after they looked set to go ahead.
The German supermarket chain received planning permission to build on the former Oval Peugeot site in 2008, which would see the Old Oak Inn demolished to make way for a new car park.
The 19th Century pub had been empty since the 1990s, but the discovery of original 16th Century ceiling beams has led for calls for it to be preserved as a site of historical importance.
The pub was inspected by Dorothy Treasure of Wiltshire Building Records, who sought to document it before its demolition, but was surprised to discover the original features beneath the more recent frontage. She said: “There are layers of history there. It is a very interesting building, right on the main road going through Westbury.
“There are buildings all around it that are related to it, including the original Malt House just across the road. We also believe there was a glove factory in the 19th century based above the pub.”
An online petition to get the pub listed was formed following the discovery, which would prevent it from being demolished. Keith Miller, chairman of the Wiltshire Heritage Society, has backed the campaign. “Westbury is a very historic place, but most of the history has been obliterated, and if this could be preserved it would be a step forward,” he said.
“If it really was built in the 16th Century, the pub could be one of the oldest properties in the town.
“The building was altered some time ago, and the current frontage is relatively new.”
Mr Miller added he was not opposed to the planned supermarket, just its required demolition of the pub: “We could easily find a solution where Aldi would come out of it looking really good, as opposed to coming out of it looking like philistines,” he said.
No-one from Aldi was available for comment.