WRITER Richard Jefferies’ Swindon home could be sold.

The building at Coate was home to the young writer for many years and is now a museum to the environmentalist.

Now it has emerged that Swindon Council is looking at the long-term future of the site and that it could be sold.

But Coun Phil Young, the cabinet member for culture, regeneration and economic development, said the sale would be the worst case scenario.

Jean Saunders, the honorary secretary of the Richard Jefferies Society, said: “We would be totally devastated if the Richard Jefferies’ house and museum was to be sold to some commercial venture.

“We get visitors from all round the world. Richard Jefferies really is a guiding light to people interested in agricultural history.

“We feel the borough council owes it to us to keep the museum.”

The society is due to hold a meeting of its executive council on Saturday, to discuss the possibility the building could be sold.

Coun Young said: “We’ve got no intentions of selling that site. That’s a worst case scenario.

“That’s a very long way down the line and that’s not going to happen.

“Clearly this is very much a cultural activity that we’d like to protect.

“We want to work with the society to work out how we can facilitate a secure future for the museum in the premises.We’re hoping there will be a very positive outcome.”

Coun Young said the council and society planned to meet in the next couple of months, but no firm date has been set.

He emphasised that there were a number of possible ways forward and that the matter has not yet been discussed by the council.

Mrs Saunders warned the society could struggle if it was forced to find a new location for the museum.

She said: “It may well be that the Richard Jefferies’ Society might have to find a way of doing it ourselves. It’s a daunting prospect for what is essentially a small literary society. We’re set up as a literary society, not as an organisation that runs a public building.”

The Richard Jefferies’ Society owns most of the items on display.

All the 15 people that run the museum have contributed financially over the years to keep it going, with Mrs Saunders putting £1,000 of her own money in two years ago.

The museum is open one day a month from October to April and three days a month from May to September.