MORE than a hundred people turned up for a preview of the latest plans for Wiltshire Museum’s new home at Devizes assizes court at the weekend.

Another 40 joined for an online briefing session with the museum’s director David Dawson and architects Purcell, who described how the old court could be both extended to the rear and renovated to form a cafe, a shop, a lecture theatre and museum exhibition spaces.

“Imagine the excitement of still keeping the cells and the corridors to and from the court for people to enjoy,” David told the online breifing.

“Just the thing to keep the interest of naughty school children, and great to keep the history of this wonderful building alive.”

Purcell will be developing ideas for the restoration and adaptation of the historic Assize Court as well as planning a new extension fronting onto the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The brief for the architects outlines requirements for exhibition galleries, café, shop and museum storage as well as community spaces, including meeting rooms and a large event and lecture space.

The Devizes Assize Court Trust is planning to apply to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for significant support for the project during the next 12 months.

If the Stage 1 bid is successful, then more detailed preparatory work will be undertaken and applications for listed building consent and planning permission would be submitted.

A major fund-raising programme will be developed to seek support from local people as well as trusts and foundations.

Peter Troughton, Chair of the Devizes Assize Court Trust, said “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.”

The project may take 10 years to complete and cost over £10 million.