Transferring the Swindon collections to be put on display at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street instead of at Apsley House in Old Town will costs £400,000.

That includes £150,00 to prepare the spaces directly earmarked to be used as museum and gallery spaces, and £250,000 for general work on the Euclid Street buildings, particularly making the lift accessible.

A report to Swindon Borough Council’s Conservative cabinet says the figure, which includes contingency funds, is less than the £450,000 it would take to bring Apsley House in Bath Road, which has been closed since March 2020, up to scratch.

If the report is approved, work will begin in December. The first set of rooms will be prepared for displaying the artwork and artefacts, and an application for permission to up-grade the lift in the listed building will be put in. It is expected the first rooms will be opened by April next year. The report says the full number of first floor rooms should be ready by March 2023.

It points out the first floor of the civic building is 930 square metres compared to 655 in Apsley House

Robert Jandy, the council’s cabinet member for culture, heritage and leisure said: “Our museum and art collections have been tucked away in a corner of Old Town for many years, but the deterioration of Apsley House has given us the opportunity to explore how we can display them to so many more people.

“The Civic Offices as an interim location for the museum and art gallery ticks a lot of boxes. It is close to the town centre and public transport links; it has access to parking and it provides a significant amount of additional floor space to display our collections.

“ I want to see coach loads of local children having the opportunity to see at first hand some of our incredible art and museum artefacts. We simply could not do that at Apsley House and the narrow spaces and small rooms over so many floors would not only make school visits difficult in these Covid times, but it makes it extremely difficult to access if you have mobility issues.

“I hope my Cabinet colleagues will recognise the great benefits and opportunities that are available at the Civic Offices and that we can start to look forward to getting our collections back on display for the public to enjoy.”

The report says as well as regular and special displays the council will continue its Art on Tour initiative of pop-up exhibitions.

Members of the Save Our Museum and Art Gallery group, which want to see Apsley House opened again as the home of the museum say the figures don’t add up.

We will bring you the group's detailed response in tomorrow's Adver.