Site of former magistrates court up for sale
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The site of the former Lowestoft Magistrates' Court is up for sale after standing empty for two years.
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.
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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.
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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.'
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.'
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