College in bid for former courtrooms

NILALC100629A1 - Ilkeston southern Derbyshire magistrates court
NILALC100629A1 - Ilkeston southern Derbyshire magistrates court
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Education chiefs are deciding whether to bid for the former Ilkeston Magistrates’ Court, which was shut in the spring.

The courthouse opened on Pimlico in 1976 but was one of 93 shut by the Government as part of cost-cutting last year.

Her Majesty’s Courts Service has put the brick building, which also housed staff dealing with motoring fines until November, up for sale which has attracted interest from Derby College, which already provides educational courses at its Field Road campus.

A college spokesman said: “Derby College continues to consider a wide range of development opportunities as part of our long-term property strategy and this is one of several sites that are under discussion.”

Derbyshire County Council property experts have also toured the building for conversion into offices but have rejected it.

A spokesman said it had not been considered as a possible alternative location for the town’s registry office, which operates from a former house nearby.

The Courts Service said the asking price was available to any serious bidders.

“We have a duty to get the best value with electors’ money,” he added.

The building has two wood-panelled court rooms and also had two for young offenders and other cases involving children.

It has cells beneath it where offenders could be moved directly into prison vans and taken to jail. There is also a car park and landscaped area.

The magistrates handled minor cases from an area stretching from Long Eaton to Belper, Heanor and Alfreton. Before that, the courts sat at town halls and also occasionally used church halls.

When it first opened, the building also used to accommodate a county court, dealing with civil cases like disputes between tenants and landlords. This court was removed to Derby and Nottingham after several years.

It cost £550,000 to build and furnish. These included long wooden tables costing £1,000 each and a wall hanging depicting Derbyshire.

The juvenile and family courts had fitted carpets which also went up the wall behind the magistrates’ bench. Housing stands on three sides of the site, which is just off the Market Place. There is a reservoir on the fourth side.

Nearby is a former garage and car showrooms which closed several years ago. These could be demolished to make way for housing.