Wether­spoons keen on Holy­head:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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