PLANS to restore the decaying Devizes Assize Court took a significant step forward this week when architects were chosen to lead the project.

Award winning Purcell from Bristol will now design the new home for Wiltshire Museum along with a cafe and community space.

Peter Troughton, Chair of the Devizes Assize Court Trust, said “Appointing Purcell to be the architects of this exciting project is a significant step in rescuing the Assize Court building and moving the world famous Wiltshire Museum to its new home.

“There is much to be done to realize this vision, but with the help of the people of Devizes and many others, I am confident that we can achieve it.”

Martin Nye, Chair of the Wiltshire Museum said “We are looking forward to working with Devizes Assize Curt Trust, Purcell and the wider Wiltshire community to start the journey to restore and enlarge a wonderful historic building that will be an exciting and uplifting place to visit, and a fitting home for our nationally-important collection.”

Niall Phllips, partner at Purcell, said “Creating a new home for Wiltshire Museum at the Devizes Assize Court is a wonderful but challenging project that we will enjoy applying all our architectural and conservation skills to ensuring has an outstanding end result.

“Its success will reinvigorate the museum and its collections making them more accessible to wider audiences, it will resolve the future of a prominent but derelict historic building in the heart of the town and act as a flagship for its regeneration.”

It is hoped that eventually the main Wharf area in Devizes will be linked to the Assize court site with a new path and help to make it a mecca for tourists.

Mr Phillips said the Grade II* building would throw up challenges but he wanted to make the most of features such as the old cells but add contemporary touches.