The 200-year-old courthouse in Pontefract is to be finally brought back into use, with high hopes it could trigger other improvements across the town.
The Grade-II listed building on Front Street has stood empty since the magistrates’ court closed four years ago this month, but will now be turned into an antiques centre and a cafe.
Submitted by Wetherell Investments, the blueprints for the building, which was built in 1807, were apporved by Wakefield Council’s planning department.
And Paul Cartwright, chairman of the town’s civic society gave his backing, saying: “To us it looks like a good scheme, we’re pleased with what we’ve seen and we certainly welcome it being used for an appropriate use - an antiques centre will probably go down well. It would certainly give some added value to that part of town.
“What it does do is complement the Tap and Barrel pub opposite and the Pomfret Gallery shop around the corner.”
Pontefract Civic Society is also continuing to champion the town in other ways, including rail improvements to the two stations and their services while working closely with Pontefract Heritage Group, the Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens, Pontefract Lionesses and The Crescent Project- under the umbrella of the Pontefract Cultural Consortium - to improve the town.
Mr Cartwright added: “We will continue to champion the area and what is good about it, strengthening the voice for Pontefract. By working together with other organisations, and using our scarce resources wisely, we can achieve so much more, which will make Pontefract an even better place.”