THE historic Moot Hall in Daventry town centre could be re-opened before the end of the year.
The building has a number of coming soon leaflets in the window and the Daventry Express believes the grade II listed building could be used as an antiques and arts and crafts centre.
The Moot Hall has been empty since the beginning of 2008 when an Indian restaurant closed.
The building is owned by Daventry District Council (DDC) and the authority has said it is in negotiations with an interested party which it hopes to complete successfully by the end of the month.
Reacting to the news, the council’s economic, employment and regeneration portfolio holder Cllr Chris Over said: “I think the possibility the Moot Hall will become an antiques centre is one that is very appropriate to the history of the building.
“It has the potential to bring people into the town centre and that has to be a good thing.
“It has been empty for a long time and I think the best way of protecting listed buildings is to ensure that it is used rather than standing derelict.
“I would wish anybody who moves into the Moot Hall every success with it.”
The Moot Hall was built in 1796 and over the years it has acted as the town hall and a court house. More recently, it has been used as a home for Daventry Museum and Tourist Information Centre. This was closed by DDC back in April 2004. The news has also been welcomed by the ward member for Daventry Town Council.
Cllr Mark Wesley, who represents Abbey South, said: “I think it has got to be good and positive news for the town. I think an antiques venue is a more appropriate use of the building than the Indian restaurant before.
“I would hope it might bring a little bit of employment and I hope any people occupying the Moot Hall will make a success of it.”