ROTHERHAM’S former magistrates’ courts will be sentenced to demolition once council bosses seal a deal to buy the site for £1.
The Advertiser revealed last year that Rotherham Borough Council was in talks to buy the four-storey building for a nominal fee.
The Government initially said it was not interested in the £1 deal and indicated it would put the courts on the open market but has now changed it mind, clearing the way for the building — closed last September — to be razed by the end of May.
Council regeneration director Damien Wilson called the U-turn “great news” as it followed the council’s recent purchase of Forge Island, which he said was a “vital part in the town centre masterplan”.
A report to RMBC Cabinet members said consulted putting together the masterplan “advise that including the magistrates’ court site within the Forge Island development will provide added benefit”.
WYG Group, the consultants drawing up the masterplan, have indicated that converting the existing building is not likely to be viable or desirable to developers.
Demolition is expected to be recommended and could be completed before the end of May.
The site is expected to be worth £500,000 once cleared.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “This will give us some more space for the Forge Island development.
“It’s part of that connection between the stadium, Riverside House and the other part of the town centre.
“There are a number of options for the site. Once we have the masterplan completed, hopefully it will all start coming together.”
Funding for holding costs in the meantime — about £48,000 — will be taken from the council’s £17 million town centre allocation for 2016 to 2021.
The council bought Forge Island with a £1.5 million loan from Sheffield City Region. The masterplan is expected to be published at the end of April.