THE closed home of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery needs either a new roof or the leaking current one repaired, its boilers fixed and a new fire alarm system.

But supporters bidding to get the Old Town building open again as soon as possible say the list of work needed is not prohibitive or insurmountable.

Apsley House, on the corner of Bath Road and Victoria Road, has been shut since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Although Swindon Borough Council has agreed to consider opening it again, it has said it is not fit for purpose in the long term and that doing so would costs thousands of pounds and be uneconomic.

An official list of problems was supplied to Patrick Herring – the South Swindon parish councillor for Eastcott – by the borough council.

It lists seven issues caused by damp in galleries – mainly mould or water patches on ceilings and walls but also a bowed ceiling over a corridor.

It says both boilers are broken, a new fire alarm system is needed and water comes through the ceiling in the archaeology gallery.

The report says: “Roofers said roof needs to be repaired or replaced.”

The issue has been passed to the council’s property team but has not been updated.

Coun Herring said: “The long and short of it is that there is a list of maintenance work that has been compiled by the council’s building services, and it doesn't appear that quotes have been sought for the work.

“You can judge for yourself exactly how much of this work is big enough to prevent visitor access, or how much money any of it would add up to.”

Fellow parish councillor and chairman of the Friends of Swindon Museum And Art Gallery Linda Kasmaty agreed.

She said: “Patrick is right. This isn’t a massive obstacle to getting Apsley House open again.

“The council has money set aside for it, I don’t know why it doesn’t get on and spend it and get Apsley House open.

“A town of Swindon’s size needs a museum and art gallery. I know the council wants to open a new one in the cultural quarter but we don’t know how long that will take.

“It should spend the money it has to fix these issues and get Apsley House open again.”

Cabinet member for culture, heritage, leisure and town centre experience Robert Jandy said: “The essential works outlined just concentrate on the backlog maintenance that needs to be carried out on Apsley House.

“It does not take into account the considerable additional work that is required to improve accessibility so that everyone who wants to access the collections can do so.

“We know from previous estimates that this work would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, but council officers have been re-examining this in light of recent discussions I have had with representatives of Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

“A report looking at options for how we display our fabulous art and museum collections to the most people and for the greatest benefit is currently being drafted and will be presented to the council’s cabinet for consideration.”