The former Royal Wootton Bassett co-op will become an auction house

Royal Wootton Bassett is taking a step closer to having its own auction house after a planning application was approved by Wiltshire Council.

An empty store at 144 High Street – formerly a Co-op supermarket – will now be converted into a high-end salesroom and gallery.

The space has more than 9,000 square feet of space over two floors, but will undergo a full renovation before the first sales can take place in 2023, and jobs will be created in the process.

Builder Jon White bought the building last year but Covid backlogs delayed the processing of his change of use application.

He said: “Before submitting our application, we asked the people of Bassett for their opinion on our plans via a Facebook poll.

“We received hundreds of positive responses which gave us confidence that we would be successful when the decision was taken to the planning committee. It was still a great relief to receive unanimous approval.”

The facade of the new auction house will be in harmony with the architecture of the Wootton Bassett conservation area.

The new auction house which will operate as RWB Auctions is adjacent to Old Bank Antiques, the store White opened in 2019. Previously occupied by HSBC, the space is now home to a precious metals company, a business selling rare pieces and a range of wearable antiques including jewellery, furniture, ceramics and books.

“The past few years have been difficult for Britain’s high streets,” said White, “but I’m passionate about the positive impact independent businesses can make to places like Royal Wootton Bassett.”

Steve Bucknell, who will take on the role of Managing Director of RWB Auctions, said: “We will be recruiting porters, administrators and a full staff for the planned ground floor café-bistro.

“As well as employing local people, we also anticipate the sales will attract out-of-town shoppers who will visit other high street businesses.”

A busy program of general and specialized sales is planned as soon as the auction house opens. Buyers will be able to attend viewing days or preview auction lots online.

“We have a lot of work to do in the meantime,” White said, “but all the systems are working now and we’ll be tracking the whole process on our website and Facebook page.”