Court staff to move in

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COURT staff are set to move into a building at Wakefield’s Merchant Gate regeneration project.

Magistrates and county court staff will be based at Emerald House, next to Westgate Railway Station, from this summer after a deal was made to lease the building.

County court hearings will be held at the building, which contains 14,000 sq ft of office space, after the existing Pontefract and Wakefield county courts close.

Magistrates’ court back office staff will also be based at Emerald House after the courts in Wakfefield and Pontefract courts merged. Pontefract Magistrates Court itself will close in 2014.

Emerald House was sold to York-based Helmsley Securities Ltd for £3.25m and let to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service in a deal worth £3.25m. The £140m Merchant Gate scheme contains 66 flats, office space, a public square and multi-storey car park.

A new civic office which will house council services is also set to open to the public at Merchant Gate in the summer.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It’s great that all the hard work on this major regeneration scheme is continuing to move forwards.

“The fact that our regeneration has continued despite the economic climate shows the confidence people have in the district’s bright future.”

Merchant Gate developer the English Cities Fund said court staff were expected to move in this summer.