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Cinema and housing for homeless among suggestions for Magistrates Court site

PUBLISHED: 15:39 31 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:48 31 March 2018

The former Lowestoft magistrates' court building is up for sale. Picture: Nick Butcher

The former Lowestoft magistrates' court building is up for sale. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Calls for local justice to return to the town were among the suggestions put forward by people who responded to the news that Lowestoft Magistrates' Court is up for sale.

The former Lowestoft magistrates' court building is now up for sale. Picture: Nick ButcherThe former Lowestoft magistrates' court building is now up for sale. Picture: Nick Butcher

The site has stood empty for two years since the court closed in 2016 despite a campaign from residents and Waveney MP Peter Aldous to keep the building open.

In early March, however, ‘for sale’ signs from Cambridge-based estate agents Lambert Smith Hampton were put up.

The site is currently owned by Homes England, a subsidiary agency of the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government, indicating a possible preference for housing.

However, agency director at Lambert Smith Hampton Nick O’Leary said nothing was set in stone and that there was a wide range of possibilities open for the site.

On Facebook, Lowestoft town councillor Dick Houghton was on the side of more housing.

He said: “Tear it down, rebuild the old houses and the Score that was pulled down to make way for it. Or an indoor market. Justice Dept should give it to the town.”

Another commenter was in agreement. Scott Bennett said: “Houses for unemployed people! There’s not enough of them to go around.”

Others wanted to see the site used for another community asset, with Claire Lambert suggesting a health centre.

She said: “An emergency drop in for health for people who can’t wait four weeks to see their own GP so they don’t end up blocking up the James Paget A&E.”

Michelle Hall put forward the possibilty of a centre dedicated to the homeless. She said: “A drop in centre for the local homeless community with showers, washing machines, tumble dryers and store basic donated supplies... nothing flash just something to make their lives a little easier.”

Another, Pat Lewis, said: “One bedroom accommodation for care leavers and vulnerable young people.”

Many agreed with Danny Steel, chairman of business improvement district Lowestoft Vision, who said he wanted to see a commercial development.

John Wilde put forward the idea of a cinema. He said: “Would make a brilliant cinema, good parking, space for five screens.”

The most popular idea, however, was the return of local justice, with seven people suggesting the site be re-opened as a court.

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