Sheriff court may escape the death penalty

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Two local politicians have given assurances that the Arbroath Sheriff Court building will not become a blight on the town’s High Street.

With the court set to close its doors for good next May, concerns have been raised that the former townhouse building will stand empty.

And as the Herald reported last week, Boyles Solicitors have already closed their High Street office, citing the closure of the court as their reason.

But now Angus South MSP Graeme Dey and Angus MP Mike Weir say they have secured a commitment from the Scottish Court Service (SCS) that if the facility cannot be sold it will be given to the public as part of a community asset transfer.

And they believe the court building could be transformed as an attraction that could possibly bring visitors to the town.

Mr Dey said: “The SCS understandably want to sell it off but they’ve agreed firstly, that whilst efforts to achieve that are being made it’ll be properly maintained and not become an eyesore and secondly, if a sale cannot be sealed and we can put together a community asset transfer proposal then they’d consider it.

“People we’ve sounded out about this have suggested possibly creating a museum which celebrates the contribution that the Arbroath area has made to the world and there is quite a lot of material presently stored in the county archive which could be put on display. Other ideas aired have included an Arts Centre.

“But really it would be good to hear from the community what use it feels the building might best be put to if it turns out a community asset transfer is a goer.”

And if an asset transfer takes place, Mr Weir hopes the whole of the High Street will benefit.

He added: “Whilst the decision to close the court was disappointing we must now look at how we can use the opportunity to get a community use for the building, which has substantial historic links for Arbroath.

“The SCS wish to sell the building, but that is likely to be difficult, and if that cannot be achieved  it would be much better if it could be put to a use that would enhance that part of the High Street and entice both locals and visitors to make more use of the cafes and shops in the area.”

What do you think? How would you like to see the building used after the court closes? Let us know your suggestions by emailing us on news@arbroathherald.co.uk or by tweeting us 
@Arbroath_Herald.