New lease of life beckons for town’s court

Court 1 as it looked moments after magistrates heard their last case on December 19 2013.
Court 1 as it looked moments after magistrates heard their last case on December 19 2013.
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Spalding’s historic court could have a new lease of life as headquarters for the town branch of The Royal British Legion (RBL), a possible learning resource for children and an attraction for tourists.

Senior officials from The RBL and the Ministry of Justice toured the Sessions House in Sheep Market on Thursday, but any move will have to be sanctioned by the branch and will be subject to the building being offered on suitable terms.

Spalding RBL branch chairman Colin Jackman said the building has “possibilities” but they would want to lease it rather than buy it – and they don’t want the burden of potentially high maintenance costs.

He said: “At the moment I can see possibilities – we are now waiting for the justice department to come back with what they want.”

Mr Jackman said if the RBL moves in, it’s likely the upstairs Court 1 will remain the same while the branch makes the most of the ground floor space.

He said: “One of the things I would like to do as one of the lead officers is to get the schools involved and show them how a court works.

“It would be role-play for them. We could do it because, in my view, that court room (Court 1) could not be changed. It would destroy what it’s all about.

“We had the town centre manager with us on Thursday and he said we could open part of it for tourists to come and have a look.”

The RBL is based in a house on Spring Gardens, Spalding, but the space there is cramped and tiny.

Spalding branch of The Lincolns have already moved out of the Spring Gardens house and had their first meeting at The Lighthouse Church – the former drill hall – in January.

Chairman Ken Willows said: “It’s a bit tight in there. We have 38 or 39 members and we were almost sitting on one another’s knees.”