Proposals have been revealed to give a new lease of life to some of Aylesbury’s iconic public buildings.
The buildings included in the scheme include the Grade 2* listed former Crown Court fronting Market Square, Judges Lodgings, the Old County Offices in Walton Street and the former Police HQ in Exchange Street.
The proposals focus on preserving the appearance and history of the buildings, many of which have stood for centuries, as well as development that could maximise investment and generate much needed income for Buckinghamshire County Council.
Cabinet Member for Resources, John Chilver said he was excited about the range of options to bring the County’s former town centre public buildings back into viable, commercial use. John said: ‘My responsibility is to make sure we use all our assets as effectively as possible. The buildings we own in the town centre provide the chance to bring exciting new facilities and employment opportunities to benefit Aylesbury’s economy. But, they also mean we can preserve their history for future generations to enjoy.
It’s great that investors can see the huge potential in Aylesbury and we are aiming to offer the best possible opportunities for commercial success. For example, we recently refurbished the exterior of Old County Hall and I have just agreed to purchase the Arches Suite, in the corner of Market Square to give additional space to make a hotel proposal more attractive and commercially viable. It’s this type of forward planning that will give us the best future potential for our buildings.‘
Buckinghamshire County Council has already invested in the 98 space Waterside North car park, refurbished the old Police HQ ready for restaurant usage and remodelled the former county gaol, home to The Archway Beauty Clinic and Salon.
The County Council’s plans will also complement the current adjoining Exchange development, in particular by providing new, enhanced pedestrian links with quality landscaping through to Walton Street.
John added, ‘We are currently in active discussions with a range of investors and operators and I am confident we will have some firm proposals to announce in the very near future.‘
A full list of the current proposals are:
1. Former Police HQ building – Refurbishment and use of the property as an A3 Food and Beverage/Restaurant unit. Currently in discussion with a restaurant operator for a SE Asian themed bar & grill. Potentially opening August 2018.
2. Old County Offices – Conversion into 32 town centre apartments. Planning application submitted. Potential completion August 2019.
3. Old County Hall/Crown Court Judges Lodgings and adjoining buildings – Innovative and tasteful conversion into a 60 room boutique style hotel. Potential opening in March 2020.
4. Public area improvements – restyling of the pedestrian link between Walton Street and the new Exchange & Cinema development and the remodelling of Walton Street including a new taxi rank, quality landscaping and more pedestrian friendly links to shopping, the theatre and bus/railway stations.
5. Lending Library – Rejuvenation and modernisation of the existing building.
6. The historic listed gaol wall (between cinema and Waterside North car park) – Refurbishment, additional lighting and structural support. Expected completion July 2018.