Four shops to be built at old courthouse?

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A boost to Dewsbury town centre’s economy could be in store after plans were submitted to build four shops in the basement of the old magistrates’ court.

An applicant under the name of M Ramzan wants a change of use in part of the basement for retail purposes, to make an extension and install a new shop front within the Conservation Area in Grove Street.

Supporting information included with the application on the Kirklees Council website reads: “The alterations to the exterior of the building are designed to be as minimal as possible in order to protect the character of the Conservation Area in which it sits, whilst at the same time finding a practical solution that brings the building back into use and adds to the vibrancy of Dewsbury town centre by creating new shops.”

It states that the plans would “provide a greater diversity of shops and services which have the potential to increase the shopping experience for visitors.”

Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court, along with the town’s county court, was closed in March 2012 as part of a Ministry of Justice cost-cutting measure. They were among the 141 other magistrate and county courts that were announced to be shutting.

The types of cases from North Kirklees which were generally handled at the Dewsbury court are now seen to at Kirklees Magistrates’ in Huddersfield.

The plans’ supporting information continues: “The proposed alterations to the Grove Street elevation would result in a building more sympathetic to the other buildings that lie in the vicinity.

“The building on the opposite side of Grove Street has a number of window openings which are at ground floor level and the changes proposed in this application would continue that theme.”

Public consultation on the plans will run until February 5. To view the application or leave a comment, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/business/planning.