Ely Magistrates’ Court bought for just £1 by City of Ely Council
- Credit: Archant
AN historic building in Ely has been bought for the people of the city for the princely sum of just £1.
The City of Ely Council voted unanimously on Monday to buy Ely Magistrates’ Court, in Lynn Road, from the Ministry of Justice following lengthy negotiations.
The deal brings an end to almost three years of uncertainty around the 19th Century building, which has lay empty and dormant since it heard its last criminal case in 2011.
The city council propose to move from their current offices in Market Street, the lease of which has come to an end, and relocate to the court house, retaining its central position for administration.
The council will also begin contacting community groups to see if they would like to use the building as a community hub.
Mayor of Ely, Cllr Will Burton, who led the negotiations, said he hoped contracts would be exchanged with the Ministry of Justice within the coming weeks.
He said: “It’s been a long, hard negotiation and we are very pleased. We wanted to ensure that what we were doing was making a practical decision in light of how we see the future of the city council and how we want it see it build its stature.
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“We hope the decision will be accepted in the spirit in which it is made and that is in a community spirit. It is a lovely building, a rival for the number two building in Ely after the cathedral I think, and we would like to make it a central feature once more.”
The courthouse heard its last case in 2011 when the Ministry of Justice, as part of a round of cost-cutting measures, decided to close it and send all cases to be heard at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.
The building, which is currently undergoing repairs following theft of lead from its roof, has sat empty since it was closed, with a number of community groups expressing an interest in taking it on, though nothing came to fruition.