At last, a scheme to bring the former Derby magistrates' courts back into use
THE derelict Full Street magistrates' court will be turned into offices, meeting rooms and a café in a £3 million revamp.
The city council is in negotiations with owner Wilson Bowden Developments over the purchase and refurbishment of the grade two listed building that has been empty for nearly a decade.
The project will be paid for out of the council's £10m regeneration fund.
Under the latest plans to be unveiled, the building would feature 16,500 sq ft of office space with the potential to accommodate up to about 150 workers.
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Alongside the office and café plan, the city council still intends to use the former magistrates' court and police station building opposite the refurbished Council House to rehouse Derby's local studies library, should it relocate from St Mary's Street, as previously reported. It is still the aim to demolish buildings on two thirds of the site.
As part of the deal, work to refurbish the building would be undertaken by Wilson Bowden, which bought the freehold of the magistrates' court and adjoining former police station in 2004.
Design work is well under way on the project, although the council has yet to apply for the necessary planning and listed building consents.
The intention is for the serviced office accommodation to be suitable for a number of small businesses rather than one or two large occupiers.
It is being designed to complement the authority's Connect programme that provides office space where businesses can grow.
Leader of Derby City Council Paul Bayliss said: "We are very excited at this investment which will mark the next step of our planned riverside enhancement and regeneration of city centre.
"Despite the tough economic climate, it is vital we continue to invest in the city and the regeneration of the former magistrates' court is an example of our firm commitment to that goal."
The Full Street site has been empty since 2004.
Wilson Bowden Developments came up with a £30 million project for the former police station and magistrates' court, which would have seen the police station demolished. However, after 12 months of marketing, a tenant had not been found for the office space and the scheme ground to a standstill.
The developer has since come under pressure to act over the site's derelict buildings, smashed windows and graffiti-daubed hoardings.
In 2012, Derby North MP Chris Williamson said the site – ironically, opposite the Tourist Information Centre – gave visitors the wrong impression of the city.
No one was available from
Wilson Bowden last night.