Magistrates’ court plans withdrawn after disabled access rethink

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
8:30 AM

Ambitious plans to transform Ely’s 19th century magistrates’ court into a community hub have been withdrawn.

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The City of Ely Council, which took ownership of the building back in March, said it wanted to make tweaks to its plans in light of feedback from the public about disabled access to the building.

The authority insisted that new, updated plans would be resubmitted to planning officials at East Cambridgeshire District Council early in the new year.

Mayor of Ely, Cllr Elaine Griffin-Singh: “The changes came about after consultations with the access group in Ely, who were interested in better disabled access for the building.

“We spoke with English Heritage about putting something at the front of the building but it would have been too expensive so we are going to make the back entrance more of a feature and improved disabled access there.

“We withdrew the plans so we could include these changes but we will be resubmitting them very shortly.”

The courthouse, which English Heritage say dates back to the 1820s, has stood empty since March 2011 when it was closed by the Ministry of Justice but this year the city council purchased the building for a nominal £1 sum.

The authority plans to re-locate its offices to the courthouse from Market Street.

As part of its wider plan, the council hopes to include other community uses with the building, which could includes a museum and art gallery space, as well as music and concert facilities.

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