Flats plan for disused Kettering Magistrates' Court
Kettering's disused magistrates' court would be better off as flats, according to the council's regeneration portfolio holder.
The courthouse shut on June 30 this year as part of a national cull of ‘inadequate’ facilities with 86 closed, including Corby Magistrates’ Court.
Kettering’s closed court in London Road is a prime town centre location - and Cllr Mark Dearing (Con, Desborough Loatland) says he would love to see it converted into flats.
He said: “We’re in talks about the courts in Kettering and what we’re looking to do and what we’d like to do is produce places where people can live.
“We want to bring people to live in the town centre.
“I believe it was offered out to local councils so we’re in talks on that.
“It’s an early plan but what we would like to see, even if the council themselves didn’t get it, is it being turned into living accomodation for people.”
The Northants Telegraph understands that options for the future of the site are still open and that no decision has been made yet.
Cllr Dearing says converting the court would help with its bid to get more people living in the town centre.
He said: “The whole point is you’ve got to think far ahead.
“When you think about things like Rushden Lakes you’ve got to drive out to it, but nobody lives there.
“When you take something like Kettering as a town centre, it’s got the cafes, the cultural side, and if people are living in the town centre then it’s a natural thing to come out of your flat and walk around town.
“That’s one of the visions we have that would bring people to live here and that’s what we want to do.
“The more people who are living here, the more people will spend their money.”
An HM Courts and Tribunal Services spokesman said: “We have a world-leading legal system and are investing over £1bn to reform and digitise our courts to deliver swifter justice.
“Closing underused and dilapidated court buildings will allow us to reinvest in the justice system and make the best use of technology.
“This will improve access to justice and improve the experience for all court users, in particular vulnerable victims and witnesses.”