New Blackpool Court House

New Blackpool Court House

Plans are underway for a new Blackpool Court House, relocating the facility from Bonny Street in Blackpool to the corner of Devonshire/Talbot Roads.

Relocating from Blackpool Town Centre

Closure of the former Blackpool Courts at Bonny Street has long been on the cards. It’s part of the plan to redevelop the whole site as Blackpool Central – a new mixed-use leisure facility.

The courthouse on Chapel Street, built in the 1960s, was closed in November for investigations into the presence of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the building. Now the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has decided to close the courthouse permanently as repairs will be too costly. A report to a meeting of the Town Deal Board in July 2021 said at that time £14m worth of repairs and maintenance would be needed to the courthouse over a 25 year period.

The new facilities at Talbot Road are expected to open in 2026, meanwhile leaving the Fylde coast without a criminal court. Cases will be heard at other courts in the meantime including Preston and Lancaster magistrates courts. Preston Magistrates’ Court is now fully reopened after being temporarily closed due to RAAC. It has five courtrooms and two tribunal hearing rooms. Fleetwood Magistrates Court is open for civil and family cases only as it does not have custodial facilities.

The New Blackpool Court House

The now empty site at the corner of Devonshire Road and Talbot Road was originally the location of Devonshire Road Hospital, demolished in 2007. Blackpool Council has owned the plot of land since 2020.

Blackpool Council unanimously agreed the full planning application in February 2024. The three storey building with 10 courts includes judicial chambers, custody facilities and public waiting facilities. The main entrance is from Talbot Road where there will be new pedestrian and vehicular access, plus parking on site for up to 95 cars. A security checkpoint will welcome all visitors to the courthouse, with airport-style metal detectors.

Planning documents said: “The scale and positioning of the proposed courthouse on the site will help create a gateway into Blackpool for those travelling into Blackpool from the east, whilst complementing the existing streetscape.”

Funding for the new courthouse includes £40m from the Levelling Up Fund and £8m from the Town Deal.

Work is expected to begin on site at the end of autumn 2024, with completion by early summer 2026.

Devonshire Road Hospital

The original Blackpool Isolation Hospital opened on Devonshire Road on 7 July 1891. It had six wards with 20 beds, offices, a house and outbuildings, built at a cost of £5,900. A new mortuary was built in 1903, with space for seven bodies.

Then in 1904 at the cost of £23,500 it was extended to add space for 64 additional beds. In 1905 a new administrative block was added, yet more bedding space and a replacement disinfecting room and laundry.

A new hospital was formally opened on 26 March 1906 on the opposite corner of Devonshire Road and Talbot Road. At the end of 1935, Blackpool Sanitorium had 43 residents, but capacity for 82. It became known as Devonshire Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, but was known locally as ‘the Fever Hospital’.

In 1954 it was changed into a general hospital which dealt mainly with geriatric cases. By 2007 when it was demolished it was known as Devonshire Road Hospital – the now vacant site was used as a car park until 2016.

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