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Site of former magistrates court up for sale

PUBLISHED: 17:16 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 23 March 2018

The former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court building is now up for sale. Picture: Nick Butcher

The former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court building is now up for sale. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The site of the former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court is up for sale after standing empty for two years.

The former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court building has been shut for two years. Picture: Nick ButcherThe former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court building has been shut for two years. Picture: Nick Butcher

The building closed in 2016 despite a campaign supported by Waveney MP Peter Aldous to keep it open, with its workload shared between Great Yarmouth, South East Suffolk, and Norwich Magistrates’ Courts.

In the last week a sign from Cambridge-based estate agents Lambert Smith Hampton has appeared at the site, confirming that the land is finally for sale.

With the closure initially handed by the Ministry of Justice, the site was passed on to Homes England, a subsidiary agency to the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This means that while no decision has been made for the future of the site, there is a possibility the site could be prioritised for new housing in the town.

For sale signs are up on the former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court building. Picture: Nick ButcherFor sale signs are up on the former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court building. Picture: Nick Butcher

Nick O’Leary, agency director at Lambert Smith Hampton, said that expressions of interest have already been made by developers for housing, with other interest coming from the public sector, for commercial use, and for potential D1 use which covers buildings ranging from medical or health services to museums, educational and religious usages.

Danny Steel, chairman of business improvement district Lowestoft Vision, said that he would support the potential use for commercial properties, but criticised the use of a Cambridge-based estate agent.

He said: “I would of course prefer to see either a retail or commercial use of the building to enhance the town centre and to offer employment.

“It’s disappointing that a Cambridge-based agent has been instructed when there are several very good commercial agents in Lowestoft that could have easily marketed the property and taken into consideration what would be best for Lowestoft rather than whoever offered the most money.”

It could be sold to developers for housing, commercial use, or even a museum. Picture: Nick ButcherIt could be sold to developers for housing, commercial use, or even a museum. Picture: Nick Butcher

A spokesman for Homes England said: “Homes England is currently seeking expressions of interest for alternative uses for Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court, which it is anticipated could include possible use for housing.”

• What would you like the site to be? Would you prefer more houses or extra businesses and jobs? Let us know by emailing us at lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk or write to us at Lowestoft Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1NB.

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