Campaign to give court building new life

Campaign to give court building new life

Campaign to give court building new life

First published in News by

A CAMPAIGN is underway to find a use for Bridgwater’s landmark former magistrates’ court building, which has been closed for nearly three years.

The building is listed, which limits how it can be used in future, say campaigning councillors and civic society members who want to see it brought back into use for the community.

It is hoped a public open day can now be held to try to drum up interest in the site with experts on hand to explain the benefits as well as the limitations of using the building.

A joint Bridgwater Town Council and civic society panel met last week to place certain key buildings in Bridgwater on the Community Assets Register.

By registering the building, campaigners are able to prevent the sale of buildings for up to six months, giving members of the community the chance to submit their own bids.

Alternatively, it gives time to ask developers to clarify their plans for the buildings.

It was agreed to apply to put the magistrates’ court on the register.

Carnival organisations and the museum have already looked at the former magistrates’ court as a potential home, but have been put off by restrictions imposed by the listed site.

Cllr Pat Morley, one of the Westover councillors who sits on the panel, said: “We could look at film locations and the media in general – I’m sure we could find a use for the site.”

The final court sitting was held at the former Bridgwater court at the end of 2011 after nearly a century of use.

The closure was part of a Government drive to increase efficiency and save £41million.

The joint town council and civic society panel also agreed to apply to put the vacant Hope Inn on the Community Assets Register.

Cllr Brian Smedley said: “The Hope Inn is currently under offer and so would be a test case as the process of registration would make clear what was being proposed on the site, which is currently unused and surrounded by fencing.

“There are important ancillary buildings of an historic nature and a famous skittles alley.”

o WHICH buildings would you like to see protected by being on the register? Email your views to newsdesk@bridgwatermercury.co.uk

Comments (3)

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4:22pm Fri 29 Aug 14

marksway says...

Here's an innovative idea! Why not use it as a Magistrates Court?
The new custody suite in Bridgwater takes those arrested from far and wide but they have to be taken back to Taunton to appear in court.
Completely senseless....but, of course, this was known when the Sedgemoor Bench was disbanded.
Here's an innovative idea! Why not use it as a Magistrates Court? The new custody suite in Bridgwater takes those arrested from far and wide but they have to be taken back to Taunton to appear in court. Completely senseless....but, of course, this was known when the Sedgemoor Bench was disbanded. marksway
  • Score: 8

4:44pm Fri 29 Aug 14

swjoduk says...

The library, The Fountain, The Carnival Inn, Tudor Hotel, Cornhill, Natwest Bank, Town Hall, building above New Look, above specsavers etc and the Palace frontage.
The library, The Fountain, The Carnival Inn, Tudor Hotel, Cornhill, Natwest Bank, Town Hall, building above New Look, above specsavers etc and the Palace frontage. swjoduk
  • Score: -3

6:28pm Tue 2 Sep 14

CeliaMolestrangler says...

And don't forget the eyesore listed 1930s building opposite the Palace. That could be a beautiful art deco building if only someone could force the owners to sort it out or sell it to the Council for a knock down price.
And don't forget the eyesore listed 1930s building opposite the Palace. That could be a beautiful art deco building if only someone could force the owners to sort it out or sell it to the Council for a knock down price. CeliaMolestrangler
  • Score: 1

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