Wadworth puts Devizes town centre site up for sale
Wadworth Brewery plans to sell off the site of its wines and spirits warehouse and shire horse stables but says it has no intention of letting it end up like the derelict Assize Courts opposite.
And the Devizes firm says the sale does not mean it is in financial trouble.
The warehouse building, Kennet House, is in Northgate Street on a site of just over an acre. All the buildings are on the market through estate agents Strakers.
Other buildings on the site include a vehicle workshop, carpenter’s workshop, sign workshop and two houses which are rented out.
If a buyer can be found all the Wadworth services would move to its main building in Northgate Street and no jobs are expected to be lost.
The Grade II* listed Assize Courts building has lain empty for 26 years and concerns about it being an eyesore on one of the main roads into the town are often raised. A succession of schemes to convert it into homes or retail units, a pub and gym have failed to come to fruition.
Paul Sullivan, Wadworth sales and marketing director, said: “If we are not using the site we wouldn’t want it to sit there doing nothing.
“We have a vested interest in the town and we are as angry as other people about the Assize Courts. I sincerely hope that it’s not going to be another Assize Courts, that would be catastrophic.”
The sale is being considered following the transfer of Wadworth distribution and other warehouse to Kuehne & Nagel Drinks Logistics, of Thatcham, Berkshire.
Mr Sullivan said: “This is a marketing exercise and in planning terms we have to market it before we do anything. Following the transfer to Kuehne & Nagel we don’t have the vehicles on the site and, from an efficiency point of view, it makes sense to consolidate on to one site.
“Our time frame is no less than 18 months, more likely two to three years.”
Asked if the sell-off is being considered because the brewery was in trouble financially, Mr Sullivan said: “Not at all. We have had a cracking summer, we have seen increases in sales and exports.
“Times are tough but at the same time we are cautiously optimistic this year.
“This is not a fire sale. Any surplus money we have is used to invest in our estate and acquiring new pubs.
"We bought two pubs last summer and another pub at the end of the calendar year.”
He said the site sale would have to pay for the move of staff and facilities to the main building, including building stables for the shire horses.
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