Plans to transform a historic building left abandoned for decades are currently being developed and residents have been encouraged to weigh in.

The Assize Court on Northgate Street in Devizes has been derelict since the 1980s but could be converted into the new home of the Wiltshire Museum by 2030, under current plans.

Last year a scheme to restore the Grade II listed building, which has been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register for over 20 years, was given a boost by a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This development funding of £300,748 has allowed Wiltshire Museum and the Devizes Assize Court Trust to draw up plans to revitalise the site, after appointing architects Purcell.

Claire Slack, the Assizes for Devizes project engagement manager, says the public is being consulted on the early stages of these proposals.

Wiltshire Times: The Assize Court in DevizesThe Assize Court in Devizes (Image: Wiltshire Museum)

She said: “We’re in the development phase of the project, we’ve been provided with the funding to develop things like architects’ plans, planning applications, and to plan what our exhibition spaces might look like.

“Sadly there’s very little of historic interest left inside the Assize Court, which is a real shame, but it also means we’ve got quite a blank slate so it’s going to be a flexible space.

“It’s a really exciting time for us… we’re working with small groups of people both from Devizes and more rural areas to make sure what we’re planning meets the needs of the community.”

It is hoped the next round of funding applications will be submitted around the middle of 2025, and if successful this could lead to construction starting in the following years.

The targeted opening date of the new museum remains 2030.

The scheme is in the early stages of community engagement and residents are still able to let the Wiltshire Museum team know what they would like to see in the space.

Wiltshire Times: Consultations over the Assize Court plansConsultations over the Assize Court plans (Image: Wiltshire Museum)

Ms Slack added: “The key thing we’re hearing at the moment is that people are excited it will be a community hub as well as a museum space.

“We’re looking at a 120-person lecture space and a learning space alongside that, it could also be an extra space for the community, and people are excited about having another cafe.

“There is also potential to tell more of the stories of the local area, so it’s really exciting what people are coming back to us with.”

Anyone interested in being part of the project by volunteering or joining workshops and focus groups can get in touch via