PUB FIRM WANTS COURT HOUSE
Wetherspoons keen on Holyhead:
A NATIONAL pub chain has confimed its interest in expanding to North Wales’ largest port town – just days after its courthouse went on the market.
Both Holyhead and Dolgellau’s Magistrates Court buildings are now on sale via Cardiff-based property agents GVA, although neither have yet appeared on the firm’s website.
JD Wetherspoons has long had ambitions of opening a pub in Holyhead, although a spokesman could only confirm they were “aware” of the court building’s availability.
After the closure of Holyhead’s Empire Cinema in 2008, there was speculation the building was about to be sold to the pub chain, which was looking to invest in the town.
The deal fell through and the cinema later re-opened.
Wetherspoons has previously turned former court houses in Mansfield and Coleraine in pubs.
A Wetherspoons spokesman said they were always interested in opening a pub in Holyhead, which would be their first on Anglesey, although the courts service is not expected to vacate the building until December.
He added: “We’re aware that the court building is up for sale but cannot confirm any interest in this particular facility at this stage.”
The closure of the courts in Dolgellau and Holyhead have come under fierce attack, with concerns over the lack of suitable public transport to Caernarfon being highlighted.
According to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, Dolgellau and Holyhead cost £56,000 and £84,000 a year to run respectively, with both running at well below capacity.
Cases will no longer be listed at Dolgellau after this Thursday (August 25), with Gwynedd Council’s offices in the town to be used to provide video links to the justice centre in Caernarfon.
The final cases are to be heard at Holy- head Magistrates Court in December, when similar arrangements are expected to be put in place.
A spokesperson said: “We have one of the best legal systems in the world and are investing over £700m to reform and digitise our courts to deliver swifter justice.
“Closing underused and dilapidated court buildings will allow us to reinvest in the justice system and make the best use of technology.
“This will improve access to justice and improve the experience for all court users – in particular vulnerable victims and witnesses.
“The decision to close Dolgellau Crown and Magistrates’ Court was not taken lightly and we were clear the court would not close until suitable local alternative provision was in place to ensure access to justice.”
Holyhead Courthouse is due to close in December