Could Brentford Magistrates Court belong to the Community?

Mary Macleod asks whether Outer London Fund could be used to buy it

Sign up for our free newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Mary Macleod, Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth, has asked Hounslow Council to explore ways of purchasing Brentford Magistrates Court on behalf of the community. Mary believes that the magistrate’s court could be used as an ideal community resource that would encourage the regeneration of the high street in Brentford. The court could maintain an indoor and outdoor market selling food, antiques, clothes and other variables for the local community. It could be placed in a community trust as a self sustaining entity to be used for community events and festivities. Mary has managed to gain support from the Brentford High Street Steering Group and local businesses for this proposal.

The project would be a great opportunity for small businesses that are priced out of the area and would help rejuvenate the High Street when the economy is still fragile. This would also compliment the redevelopment of the south side of the High Street and Commerce Road.  An interesting, destination market would bring people to the area and could only have a positive effect for the existing businesses, residents and those considering living in the area. 

Mary has proposed that money could be used from the Mayor’s Outer London Fund to help finance this scheme. However, Hounslow Council have earmarked this money for other improvements on the High Street. Mary would like to encourage any private investors who would like to use this building for a community resource to get in touch with either herself or Brentford High Street Steering Group to explore this exciting opportunity.

Mary said “If we cannot secure the Court’s future for the community, then we may not be able to use the car park for festivities, such as the very successful St George’s Day celebrations. I am happy to work with any group, body or organisation in the hope of maintaining this building as a focus for community action.”

Cllr Ruth Cadbury replied as follows:

" is an exciting idea, and we are all in agreement the building presents great opportunities for the High Street.  The potential development of markets and community uses is very attractive and we feel would be very helpful in the regeneration of the area, indeed they feature in the work we have already worked up, taking place in the "square". However, after having studied the idea carefully, we feel the project is out of the scope and scale of the OLF Round 2. In terms of investment it is our understanding that the initial purchase price of the building could be around £1m but the additional investment needed to make the inside of the building work is probably around the £2m.

"There is no doubt that having markets, integrating the car park with the general landscape of the High Street and having A3 uses in and around the building are all very attractive and will boost the town centre, they will not generate funds at a level to sustain this order of costs.  We calculate that to make this a financially sustainable project further residential development would be needed in the upper floors of the Court House.  The total costs therefore, and the timeline for such a project go way beyond the scope of the OLF and  beyond what we would expect to be awarded for Brentford.  Since the change in scope following the August disturbances, we expect a maximum investment per place of £2m.  Furthermore projects have to be finalised by March 2014.

"As you know, we have been working for the last 2 months on the OLF bid for Brentford to bring improvements to the High Street and to develop better connections with the Great West Road through the canal's towpath. We wouldn't be able to bid for these much needed works if we were also to bid for the funds to purchase the Magistrates Court (excluding works and maintenance that is).

"But on the positive side, I have no doubt that the court building provides an exciting opportunity for a private investor who will want to take advantage of its location and the potential of the space in front of it that is now the fenced-off car park.   Then the Private, Public and Voluntary Sectors will be working alongside each other to achieve the aspirations that we all share for the town centre."

October 31, 2011

Bookmark and Share