'Thoroughly unpleasant' sight outside Chesterfield's old magistrates' court
Concerns have been raised about a 'thoroughly unpleasant' sight outside Chesterfield's old magistrates' court.
The Derbyshire Times has been sent the above picture which shows people, chairs, tents, sleeping bags, scattered litter and bags of rubbish in the grounds of the derelict building.
A resident, who did not want to be named, said: "It looks thoroughly unpleasant.
"The people of Chesterfield shouldn't have to put up with this.
"What sort of message does it send to people visiting the town?"
On Thursday, Inspector Dave Nicholls, who is in charge of policing in the Chesterfield area, told the Derbyshire Times that action is being taken to target individuals who breach the town's Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs).
The old magistrates' court is protected by the PSPOs which, among other things, ban positioning or occupying any tent or temporary structure without the landowner's permission.
Anyone who breaches the PSPOs could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to Â£100.
If unpaid, further action - which may include prosecution - will be taken.
PSPOs may be enforced by any person authorised by Chesterfield Borough Council Officers, police officers and Police Community Support Officers.
Three months ago, the council granted conditional planning permission to applicant David Ramsden to convert the former magistrates' court into 32 apartments.
The Derbyshire Times is not aware of when building work will start.
The Grade II-listed property, which is located between Rose Hill and West Bars, has been empty for almost 10 years and was put up for sale in 2015.
In a report, the council's planning committee stated: "The proposals promote a feasible solution to the redevelopment of a key heritage asset within the town centre which has in recent years fallen vacant and has been a target of anti-social behaviour and unauthorised occupation."
Last 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.
Designed by renowned architect, planner and academic Professor Joseph Stanley Allen, the building was built in 1956 and became listed in 1998.