Wakefield Council to spend £400k to save city’s crown court

Crown Court building exterior.
Crown Court building exterior.

The city’s derelict crown court building is set to be taken over and repaired by Wakefield Council at a cost of £400,000.

The council’s cabinet has approved a proposal to buy the building if its owner does not comply with an order to carry out vital repairs.

The council decided to intervene after an inspection of the Grade II-listed building found that the roof timbers were rotting and must be repaired urgently.

A report to Tuesday’s meeting said: “This proposal would restore the fabric of the building, retain its historic integrity, and raise the civic profile of the city in the region.

“In addition, it would bring an economic long-term use to this important civic building, and assist in developing the professional service sector in the city centre.”

The Crown Court was an official court building for the city from 1810 up until its closure in 1992.

A new owner took over the building last May, but it continued to deteriorate and was placed on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register last July.

Councillors decided to issue the owner with notices to repair the building urgently, and to carry out compulsory purchase proceedings if the work is not carried out.

Obtaining possession of the building could cost between £10,000 and £50,000, and essential repairs would cost around £400,000.