CAMPAIGNERS hoping to save the Swindon museum and art gallery said the sale of its former home was "a sad day".

The community group has been highlighting the importance of the town's extensive cultural collection after the council closed Apsley House during Covid and moved its artefacts and artworks to the Civic Offices. 

Plans to transform those offices into a gallery are still being hashed out - and now the original venue will need a new owner.

Community groups will be given a chance to submit proposals for why they should take on the Bath Road building before it is put on the wider property market.

Save Swindon Museum and Art Gallery member Linda Kasmaty told the Adver: "It's a very sad day because the future of Apsley House is now uncertain. It was not fit for purpose but it was all we had, it's a shame.

"I'd love to think a community group will take it on, though I am worried about losing it to developers or the worst case scenario of squatters moving in or damaging it, like what happened to the Corn Exchange.

"It's a perilous situation and the sale underlines and reminds us of the fact that a town as big as Swindon does not have a museum and art gallery.

"I'm cautiously optimistic - you have to be, even though it's difficult - and I'm behind the Civic Offices plan because it might make a nice gallery, but it will take a while before we can see the full collection again."


The building is listed as an Asset of Community Value, so the local authority must legally offer it to groups around the town, who have six weeks to decide if they want to trigger a moratorium.

Doing this would give community groups at least six months to put bids together for the property while it is being marketed. The council would be unable to sell Apsley House to any other organisation before this date.

Any money raised from the sale would be used to support the creation of a brand new museum and art gallery.