Thursday, May 30, 2024

Armidale locks down courthouse in $1 deal

Armidale Regional Council has secured the city’s old Armidale Courthouse as a public asset in a $1 deal with the NSW Government.

The building has sat vacant for the past nine years.

Council says it has championed for the courthouse to be retained as a public asset due to its historic value and flagship location in the Armidale Mall, but purchasing the building had not been viable before now.

Armidale Mayor, Sam Coupland said Council’s current financial position still restricted its ability to reopen the building.

“We felt the need to step in to ensure property NSW did not consider a private sale of such an important public asset,” said Mayor Coupland.

“Council acquired the asset for $1 and has forecast the costs of holding the courthouse in its current state as about $50-60K per annum. We are able to afford the holding costs for the next few years through recent land sales in Armidale.

“What council, on behalf of the community, has taken on is a building that will need millions of dollars spent to make it a useable space for future generations.”

He said Council will not be able to make any significant upgrades to the building without funding through land or property sales.

“And this will also need to be supplemented with NSW Government grant funding,” the Mayor said.

The building has also recently been included on the NSW Heritage Register.

“The 162-year-old building is the oldest public building in Armidale and the site, including the old Sheriff’s Office and a collection of moveable heritage items will now be under a Conservation Management Plan,” said Mayor Coupland.

“The heritage registration should also assist us, with the support of (State MP) Adam Marshall, to secure funding for major restoration and future development.”

Council says it will undertake consultation with the community and interested stakeholders on potential future uses for the site.

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