Hopes pinned on Italian restaurant for Malmesbury
The Guildhall pub, which is standing empty in Malmesbury, will be converted into an Italian restaurant if new plans get the go-ahead.
But more vacant buildings are forecast after the Carnegie Lighting shop in the town and the County Jewellers next door announced plans to close.
The scheme to turn the Guildhall, in Oxford Street, into a restaurant follows scrutiny from Wiltshire Council’s licensing committee in January 2012 after complaints of anti-social behaviour including vomiting and drug use in the streets.
Its closing time was brought forward to 11pm and staff had extra training while the then landlord, Colin Pike, was instructed to employ a new premises supervisor. Just over a year later, the pub closed.
Plans submitted to Wiltshire Council indicate much of the layout will remain the same with its well and mezzanine retained, albeit with some redecoration.
Aimee Frankham, who chairs the Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s wonderful that it will become an Italian restaurant – it’s a great way to revitalise Oxford Street.
“It’s always sad to see businesses go and have empty shops but people mustn’t be disheartened because there is a good, natural turnover of shops in the town.”
Stewart Shape, who is soon to open his pizzeria Pizza Primavera just a few doors away, said he was looking forward to the new Italian restaurant coming to town.
“It’s fantastic for the street,” he said. “We will complement each other. If you want a quiet meal you can go there, while it’s Pizza Express-style action here.”
Julian Middleton, manager of County Jewellers, which has another branch in Royal Wootton Bassett, said: “We are moving to Marlborough. We have been here two years and we are just not getting the buzz; the town is lacking in car parking.
“We have not lost money and we have coped on our own but, to be honest, we need more than that.”
County Jewellers is expected to move before October 16 while Carnegie Lighting manager Andrew Carnegie will be shutting the shop for the last time on Saturday to concentrate on his internet business.
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