What is to become of the Ely Courthouse?
By elypeople | Friday, April 08, 2011, 20:54
No decision has yet been taken about the future of the Courthouse building in Ely, even though a ceremony took place last month to mark the passing of the historic magistrates' court. After 190 years in operation, the building was one of more than 90 courts around the country axed in a cost-cutting measure that the government hope will save at least £15m in running costs and a further £15m in building maintenance.
Ely Courthouse - what will become of the building?
More than 100 people crowded inside for the final sitting of the court at the end of March, saying farewell to a building that was originally opened just five years after the infamous Littleport Riots of 1816. It was constructed at a cost of £11,176 to replace the old court in the Shire Hall that once stood on the Market Place.
The chairman of the East Cambridgeshire bench, Sue Griffin, gave the much-loved building a fitting send-off with an emotional farewell speech. "I'd like you all to take a lingering look around this magnificent courtroom and then join me in a salutation in which we wish Ely Courthouse a dignified retirement," she announced to assembled crowd.
Cases from East Cambridgeshire will now be heard at Cambridge Magistrates' Court, but the people of Ely will have to wait for a decision as to what will happen to the Crown-owned Grade II-listed Georgian building. Various civic organisations and community groups have expressed an interest in raising funds to buy the building in order to turn it into a tourist attraction.