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Plans for Blackpool's new magistrates court set for approval

Wednesday, 21 February 2024 12:00

By Shelagh Parkinson

Artist impression of the yet to be built courts on the former Devonshire Road Hospital site.

Plans for the new magistrates court look set for approval on a new site by Talbot Road.

Proposals for a new magistrates court in Blackpool look set to get the go-ahead when they go before councillors next week.

The council’s Planning Committee is being recommended to approve the application for a three-storey building on a site on the corner of Devonshire Road and Talbot Road which has been empty for more than 15 years.

The current magistrates court on Bonny Street has closed permanently after crumbling concrete was found in the building last November. It means the Fylde coast is without a local court, with cases being heard elsewhere in Lancashire until the new courts are ready in 2026.

In making their recommendation for approval, planning officers say: “Significant redevelopment of the site that would deliver significant built environment improvements, and particularly to provide a municipal, community facility, would be welcomed.

“It would accord with the aspirations for Talbot Road as a resort gateway and the overall objectives of the Core Strategy to facilitate major regeneration and high-quality development. ”

Funding towards the new courthouse includes £40m from the Levelling Up Fund and £8m from the Town Deal.

A three-storey building is proposed including 10 courts, judicial chambers, administrative space, custody facilities, public waiting facilities and landscaping.

The planning application was submitted last October by the Ministry of Justice. Relocation of the courthouse has been on the cards for several years to enable the site to be cleared for the £300m Blackpool Central Leisure scheme.

But the need to move swiftly on the scheme has become more urgent since the discovery of  RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the building.

Calls have been made to ensure the new courthouse is built as quickly as possible in order to bring local justice back to the Fylde coast.

Planners add in their report: “Overall, the development is anticipated to have a limited economic impact of itself and within the immediate area.

“However, its relocation would unlock the Leisure Quarter site and facilitate comprehensive redevelopment of a key resort core site to deliver significant

The committee will consider the application on Tuesday, February 27, with building expected to begin fairly quickly once contractors have been appointed.

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