End of an era for Browfort

This Is Wiltshire: The Browfort council offices are likely to be put on the market The Browfort council offices are likely to be put on the market

No decision has yet been made about the future of Browfort, the former offices of Kennet District Council, which closed to the public last week.

The building was shut up on Thursday and all local services were transferred to the development in Snuff Street, where services including housing benefit, accommodation and council tax have moved.

The register office at Browfort has also closed and people can now register births, marriages and deaths at Snuff Street. Wiltshire Council’s social services office is still open at the top of the entrance drive.

But uncertainty still surrounds what will happen to the Browfort site, which was the headquarters of the Devizes Rural District Council before Kennet District Council was created in 1974.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “At the moment we are still moving all our furniture and equipment out of the building so no decision has been reached as to what we will do with it.

“It may be that some other council use can be found for it, but so far no suggestion has been put forward. It is most likely to be put on the market but we haven’t a firm date for when that might happen.”

A cabinet meeting held in January proposed to “market and dispose of the Browfort offices site if officers cannot develop an appropriate, financially viable, alternative long-term public service use for the site, such as use by another public body or extra care provision”.

Town councillor Sue Evans said: “This is very worrying. I hope it is not going to become another Assize Courts.”

The Assize Courts, further along Northgate Street, has lain derelict since the then Wiltshire County Council put it on the market in the mid-1980s. Planning permission to convert it to flats and a community space has been granted to its current owners, Gatewell Limited, but work has not yet begun.

Coun Stuart Wheeler, cabinet member with responsibility for Wiltshire Council’s transformation programme, said: “All the possible uses of the site are to be looked at by the capital assets committee, probably after the next cabinet meeting on October 23.”

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