Last Minute bid to save Magistrates court

11th hour bid to save courthouse
11th hour bid to save courthouse

With auction looming tommorrow and the Sedgemoor Community Assets panel unable to meet to register the Magistrates court as a community asset, an 11th hour bid by the town and district Labour Groups to save the building for public use is being attempted.

On Friday following a successful public meeting demonstrating support for the building, Cllr Brian Smedley sent a letter to SDC Chief Exec Kerry Rickards calling for Sedgemoor to bid at auction. Rickards said there was interest but he needed ‘the political will to take it forward’.

At today’s SDC budget set meeting Labour leader Cllr Mick Lerry will submit an additional £200,000 growth bid while asking for Sedgemoor to use it to bid at auction to bring back the building to public ownership.

Cllr Lerry said “There is clearly public support for the retention of this building and I am asking Sedgemoor to put up the money and to seek partnership from such bodies as the town council, EDF and the community groups who expressed an interest. This is an investment for Bridgwater’s future.

The response letter from Kerry Rickards to Cllr Smedley is below

Thank you for the e mail and you raise some interesting views/suggestions. I took time out a few weeks back to carry out an examination of the magistrates court both internally and externally a few weeks back alongside two other officers of the Council.
Our joint view was that the facilities were not what this Council was looking for and that the building will require substantial funds of both a capital and revenue nature and that sadly this lovely old building would not meet the Councils agenda moving forward.
I have prompted SHAL to look at it as they showed some interest but I do not know whether it would be fit for their purpose either.
It may be something that the Town Council could get interested in and make work, but unless I am given a specific Political Mandate, this Council will not be submitting a bid.
As usual happy to discuss further.
Chief Executive