Developer Shares Aspirations for Apsley House 

By Ben Carey on 5 January, 2023

A Swindon-born developer has said he has received overwhelmingly positive support for his ideas for the town’s Apsley House.

Arthur Dallimer wants to buy the former museum and art gallery in Old Town from Swindon Borough Council, and his recently revealed proposals have received praise from the local community.

Visuals of the proposals were released on where people were also asked for their initial feedback on the scheme.  According to Mr Dallimer, over 100 messages of support from business groups, local residents and community groups with a vested interest in the future of the Old Town landmark were received. 

He said, “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with businesses and the community wanting to see the property as a series of commercial units for everyone to benefit from. I am so pleased it has been received so warmly and I welcome more views from all areas of the community.”

The plans would see the listed 1830s main building converted into a shop and cafe on the ground floor, and a co-working space created on the top floor.  

The 1960s extension on the right of the building would be converted into a restaurant wrapped in a glass fronted facade with wooden slats.

Mr Dallimer added, “I was inspired by the RWA building in Bristol and their beautiful conversion of a listed building. I wanted to do something with Apsley House once I knew that it could no longer be maintained under Council ownership.”

Paddy Bradley MBE, Chair of business groupSwitch on to Swindon, has submitted the following comment of support: Our organisation is run by a group of businesses who are committed to bringing people and other businesses to Swindon.  The building has had a significant role in Swindon’s society, housing great Swindon memorabilia and one of the best 20th century art collections in the country. Now it needs a new purpose and a new lease of life, which your concept will provide and add value to the immediate Old Town environment and the wider Swindon economy.

Another comment from estate agent Richard James, reads: a great use of the former museum that will bring some life, style, and attention to a beautiful and under-used building. I’d like to think Swindon Borough Council (SBC) will recognise the longer-term value this brings to the town and the community. Investment and confident design like this encourages others to follow. The town centre remains challenging but Old Town has a great business community and some momentum. Let’s hope SBC recognise and support this rather than obstruct.

All bidders for the building must submit their plans and offer this week before Swindon Borough Council decide on the sale.