Buyer makes offer on former court building

Fareham Magistratres' Court
Fareham Magistratres' Court

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A MAGISTRATES’ court building closed in a shake-up looks set to be sold to be developed for housing.

An offer has been made on Fareham Magistrates’ Court, which shut last year with cases now being heard in Portsmouth instead.

Shaun Cunningham

Shaun Cunningham

The potential buyer is being kept under wraps.

Both Chichester Magistrates’ Court and Chichester Combined Court are also under offer, according to the HM Courts & Tribunal Service website.

Councillor Shaun Cunningham, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on Fareham Borough Council, said he wants to see affordable homes on the site if it is developed.

He said: ‘Hopefully we can get some real affordable housing on there that can actually meet the housing need of Fareham. I’m looking forward to a nice design.

‘We certainly don’t want something outrageous down there. It’s a prime site for housing.’

He added it is almost certain the former court building, in Trinity Street, will see housing built on the site.

A consultation launched in 2015 found that Fareham’s court had no staff based permanently on the site.

It was used at approximately 43 per cent of its capacity during 2014/15. The court was shut last year.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said he hopes that if houses are built on the site they will be included in a scheme offering discounts for starter homes. A government scheme offers up to 20 per cent discount to people aged between 23 and 40 buying their first home in Fareham, the only town in the area to be included.

Cllr Woodward added: ‘It makes a lot of sense (for the site to have homes), it’s a key brownfield site in Fareham town centre with excellent access to shops, schools, railways and the bus station.’

He added under the scheme announced this week people would get around £50,000 off the price of buying a home.

A HMCTS spokeswoman said no detail could be given due to commercial sensitivities.