KNOCKING down the Wyvern Theatre and rebuilding it with enough space to house the Swindon Art Gallery and Museum could cost between £15-£20million according to the councillor fronting the scheme.

And Dale Heenan, the borough council’s cabinet member for the town centre says it will have to find the vast majority of the money itself without seeking grant funding. And to that ends it will be looking at selling the civic offices in Euclid Street.

Speaking at the museum and art gallery in Bath Road, Coun Heenan said: “I can’t say more about how much it will cost. If cabinet approves the plan, then we will spend £250,000 on getting professionals to draw up plans for a bigger and better theatre, and a new home for this fantastic art collection.

“They will also work out how best we can raise money by selling the civic offices. Whether that’s business use, residential or a mixture of both.

“I can’t say it in the official report because it’s not allowed, but I’m aiming that this project will be cost neutral.”

Coun Heenan added that the council had known that it would have to make significant alterations to the Wyvern Theatre in 2027 anyway, and that the new project should cost less than the £22m it would have cost to build a new art gallery and museum next door - a plan which was dropped last year when funding was refused by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

He said while the council would need a new home, meeting rooms and a larger room for a bigger meeting once or twice a month were not that hard to find.

As well as £400,000 to fund improvements to the current gallery, the plan allocates £100,000 to put on pop up exhibitions in other buildings around town such as Steam.

Museum curator Sophie Cummings said: “We hope that in summer we will be able to put exhibitions on elsewhere.

"We want to show the public our collection, and works that might not have been seen for some time, and hope they really enjoy them.”