Wadworth looks to build on Devizes warehouse site
Updated 4:04pm Thursday 13th February 2014 in By Jill Crooks, Devizes area senior reporter
More than 30 homes could be be built on part of Wadworth Brewery’s site in Devizes.
The brewery is planning to move its wine warehouse in Kennet House, shire horses stables and sign workshop from its site opposite the Assize Courts in Northgate Street to its main building on the corner of New Park Street and Northgate Street.
Wadworth marketed the site opposite the Assize Courts last year and its planning agent Richard Cosker and architect Peter Kent presented options for redeveloping the site to a meeting of Devizes Town Council’s planning committee on February 4.
Of the four options – continued commercial use, retail use, retirement housing complex or private housing – they thought housing was the best solution.
Mr Kent showed what the housing could look like – similar to the apartments above the former Polly Tea Rooms in Snuff Street.
He said the site could accommodate more than 30 homes comprising a mix of houses and apartments with a courtyard in the middle for parking and green space. Some of the buildings on the site, such as the sign writing workshop, could be converted to housing but Kennet House would be likely to be demolished.
Most of the councillors who spoke liked the idea of housing on the site.
Councillor Jeff Ody said: “Open market housing does suggest itself as being the most appropriate use because the site is within good walking distance of the town centre and gives an opportunity to minimise the number of cars and, as a result, traffic from the site would be fairly light.”
But Coun Peter Evans thought it was sad that an industrial site would be replaced by housing while Coun Ian Hopkins was not convinced housing was the answer.
Coun Hopkins said: “There’s a high density of residential development there already. I think to increase it more would be a retrograde step.
"I like the idea of using the existing buildings but I think the key thing is the high level of architectural development, because it’s one of the key sites with people coming in from the western end of the town.”
Wadworth wants to consolidate its operations to the main brewery building because there is spare capacity at the site due to it outsourcing its distribution and some warehousing functions.
Paul Sullivan, marketing director at Wadworth, said: “A decision is still a long way off. We really wanted to make the town council aware of the options that existed and to gauge any preferences or objections that may exist. At the moment the site has only been marketed for expressions of interest and we have not got to the stage of competitive offers on the site.
“There is still a lot of work to do before anything happens on the site. Our realistic time frame is the next 12 to 18 months to reach a conclusion.”