First look at new three storey Blackpool Magistrates Court unveiled for key site near the town centre
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A full planning application has been submitted to Blackpool Council which will see Blackpool Magistrates Court relocated from Chapel Street to the corner of Devonshire Road and Talbot Road.
Pictures unveiled for the first time show a three-storey building which it is hoped will transform the site of the former Devonshire Road Hospital into a new gateway to the town centre.
The scheme will include 10 courts, judicial chambers, administrative space, custody facilities, public waiting facilities, landscaping, partial removal of an existing wall to create new pedestrian access and new vehicular access onto Talbot Road.
Proposals to relocate the courthouse – which is currently closed after crumbling concrete was found in the building – have been in the pipeline for the past few years.
In November last year, the government awarded £40m of Levelling Up funding towards the development.
The scheme will also include car parking for up to 95 vehicles, including disabled parking, and cycle parking. Landscaping will see 25 trees planted across the site.
Planning documents say: “The proposed Blackpool Courthouse will be spread across three storeys and will therefore be of similar scale to Spencer Court opposite the site on Talbot Road.
“The scale and positioning of the proposed courthouse on the site will help create a gateway into Blackpool for those travelling into Blackpool from the east, whilst complementing the existing streetscape.”
Facilities for public use will include consultation rooms for legal representatives to meet their clients in and a wellbeing and prayer room. Outdoor public seating will be mounted onto boundary walls.
The main public entrance will be from Talbot Road with a security checkpoint for all visitors to the courthouse, including airport-style metal detectors.
Vulnerable witnesses will access the building via a special door passing directly into the witness suite.
The 10 courts will be of different sizes, with lobbies for sound separation between hearing rooms and the public areas, with custodial courts to the western portion of the building and non-custodial courts to the eastern side.
Interior and exterior public artwork is also proposed as part of the designs which will now go before planners for consideration.
The council has owned the Devonshire Road site since 2020, following the demolition of the former hospital in 2007.
The courthouse needs to relocate in order to make way for future phases of the £300m Blackpool Central leisure development to include indoor theme parks, hotels and shops.
It is part of the same complex as the former Bonny Street police station which has been empty since 2018 when the police moved to a new police station on Clifton Road in Marton.
The courts have been closed since Wednesday, November 1 after the discovery of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the building, but are expected to re-open possibly in about another month. The most serious cases are currently being heard at courts being held in Blackburn, as Preston Magistrates Court is also currently closed due to RAAC.