Video: Inside former court building as council seeks new tenants

David Ellesmere in the old Crown Court building.

David Ellesmere in the old Crown Court building. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Ipswich council is looking for a new use for the former Crown Court building in Civic Drive.

The court moved out nearly 10 years ago, since when it has been used by the police.

However the borough has now bought the building from the Ministry of Justice – and is hoping to give it a new lease of life.

Ultimately the borough is hoping that the site, along with the neighbouring police station, will be transferred to the owners of the former Civic Centre site who are hoping to develop it as the “Westgate Centre.”

However it is likely to be several years before that can come to fruition, so the borough is hoping that the court building can find a temporary use until then.

It is asking from expressions of interest from voluntary or community groups who are looking to rent premises for a limited period.

The borough is offering a five-year lease, which could be terminated at the end of three years if a redevelopment opportunity comes along, for a maximum rent of £20,000 a year.

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Council leader David Ellesmere said: “There are all kinds of possibilities. There is a lot of office space, and there are also the old courtrooms which could have a number of uses.

“They could be used as a performance space or a lecture theatre, or for other uses. We really want people to come to us with ideas of how it could be used.”

The building does not have a long-term future, but a short-term lease could be useful to another organisation and the council itself.

Mr Ellesmere said: “If someone else comes in we would not have to pay business rates on the building or pay for the cost of security.

“We bought the site to ensure it could be linked with the police station site and be added to the former Civic Centre site in the long term, but we are keen to find a use for it in the meantime.”