New era beckons for Chesterfield's former magistrates' court

Chesterfield's former magistrates' court. Picture: Anne Shelley.
Chesterfield's former magistrates' court. Picture: Anne Shelley.
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New life could finally be breathed into Chesterfield's former magistrates' court.

Chesterfield Borough Council has received a planning application from Leeds-based Den Architecture Ltd to transform the building into 32 apartments.

The Grade II-listed property, which is located between Rose Hill and West Bars, has been empty for nearly seven years and was put up for sale in 2015.

Earlier this year, the Derbyshire Times exposed extremely concerning images which showed hypodermic needles and heroin inside the old courthouse - as well as extensive damage in rooms and excrement smeared up walls.

The planning application states: "The proposed development ... will greatly assist towards the regeneration of the town centre.

"It will create new quality housing in the town centre which in turn benefits the local economy.

"The scheme will create both daytime and evening activity within the site, which will benefit the surrounding area.

"The proposals in every capacity will be a significant benefit to Chesterfield."

It adds: "Over the past year, the building has suffered sustained vandalism attacks, arson attempts and extensive internal and external damage - there are a number of police complaints and legal proceedings against the suspects.

"The property has been covered in graffiti numerous times.

"Despite employing a locally reputed property protection, monitoring and surveillance company with 24/7 manned response, the attacks on the property and resulting damage have continued through the last few months.

"If a use is not found immediately, the property is vulnerable to the elements and stands at a risk of rapid deterioration beyond the point of no return.

"Currently there is only one residential developer who has made a conditional exchange offer subject to receiving this planning permission."

The planning application also promise 'additional parking' within the grounds of the building.

Designed by renowned architect, planner and academic Professor Joseph Stanley Allen, the property was built in 1956 and became Grade II-listed in 1998.