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Threat to listed law courts.

Byline: Paul Dale

Birmingham's Grade One listed Victoria Law Courts may be closed and left to decay if plans to build a new courts complex are approved.

The long-term future of the imposing building in Corporation Street has been uncertain since the West Midlands Magistrates' Courts Committee announced its intention to close Sutton Coldfield Magistrates' Court and open larger, new premises in Birmingham city centre on a site yet to be identified.

Birmingham City Council, which owns the Victoria Law Courts, fears it will be left with a building that would be hugely expensive to adapt for any other purpose. Senior councillors are determined that the law courts building should not be allowed to deteriorate in a similar fashion to Birmingham Town Hall, which is closed to the public and pending a pounds 31 million refurbishment.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore last night urged the Lord Chancellor to intervene by safeguarding the future of the Sutton Coldfield complex.

If a new courts development in Birmingham had to take place it should be linked to the continued use and maintenance of the Victoria Law Courts building, Sir Albert said.

He added: 'We have a real problem here. We can't be left with a listed building that has no possible future use.'

Sir Albert said: 'Those who are masters of this situation are looking beyond the Victoria Law Courts,' he warned.

Coun David Roy (Con, Sutton Vesey), leader of the Conservative group, said: 'There could be no other use for the greater part of the Victoria Law Courts complex.'

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Birmingham's Victoria Law Courts in Corporation Street, built between 1886-91 by architects Aston Webb and Ingress Bell, is the busiest law court in the country. The red terracotta building has more than 20 courtrooms
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 7, 2003
Words:296
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