Go ahead for new Blackpool Magistrates Court as developers reveal timescale for construction

Calls have been made for the work to be completed quickly
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Plans for a multi-million-pound new magistrates court in Blackpool have got the go-ahead with calls made for developers to "get cracking" with the scheme.

Artist's impression of the new courthouseArtist's impression of the new courthouse
Artist's impression of the new courthouse

Blackpool Council's Planning Committee unanimously approved an application to build a three-storey courthouse on the corner of Devonshire Road and Talbot Road.

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Coun Julie Sloman warned it was vital "to get cracking as soon as possible" on building the new courthouse, following the closure last November of the existing magistrates courts on Bonny Street after the discovery of crumbling concrete.

The meeting was told developers aimed to be on site at the end of autumn and the building was due to be completed by early summer 2026. But in the meantime, defendants, witnesses, lawyers and other court staff must travel to other courts outside the Fylde coast for cases to be heard.

Speaking after the meeting, Justice Minister Mike Freer said: “This is an exciting step forward for Blackpool as we can press ahead with the next phase of the project to build a new courthouse. Our plans for a modern, state-of-the-art building will help deliver effective justice for local residents and people in the surrounding areas.“

Coun Ivan Taylor, whose Claremont ward is close to the site of the new courthouse, addressed the meeting and warned residents were concerned about traffic safety and on-street parking. He said: "The junction of Talbot Road and Devonshire Road is one of the busiest in the borough and huge traffic build-ups happen quite frequently."

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He said he feared having the main entrance to the court buildings on Talbot Road could increase the risk of accidents, and asked for parking on the site either to be free or low cost. Coun Taylor added: "That will avoid the problem of people not wanting to pay for parking and instead parking in nearby residential areas."

Susan Parker, head of development management at the council, said putting the main access on Coleridge Road, which has less traffic, was not considered suitable as this was a smaller, secondary road.

But she said parking regulations would be looked at in nearby streets to prevent the development leading to excessive on-street parking in residential areas. Funding towards the new courthouse includes £40m from the Levelling Up Fund and £8m from the Town Deal.

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 pave the way for the £300m Blackpool Central Leisure scheme,  but became more urgent since the discovery of  RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the existing courthouse.