Plans have been lodged for a new custody suite which will help secure the future of Wrexham Magistrates Court.
Fears had been raised the courts may have been vulnerable to closure with the police station in Wrexham due to be demolished – leaving no custody facility available.
But last year it was announced a new purpose-built custody suite would be constructed, making it viable to keep the courts open.
Currently North Wales Police allow Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) the use of their cell complex to enable criminal cases to be dealt with at Wrexham Magistrates Court, as there are no custody facilities within the courts itself. Access is via a footbridge adjoining the two facilities.
A design and access statement submitted as part of the application reads: “Wrexham Magistrates Court is a strategically important court within the North Wales area.
“The existing cell facility in the police station will be decommissioned in the summer of 2018 as North Wales Police will be relocating outside of Wrexham.
“Consequently a new custody suite is required on site to maintain Wrexham as a priority criminal justice site.
“In addition to allowing continuation of criminal case business, it will improve flexibility of service of the estate for future improvements.
“The new cell complex will meet current MoJ standards and be capable to serve the existing magistrates courts.
“The existing link from the court building to the police station will be demolished.
“The new link connecting the court building to the new custody suite will be raised in height in relation to the previous link to provide the necessary head room for the custody vans.”
The ground floor of the proposed facility would comprise a secure area with stair and lift access to the cells on the first floor.
It is proposed the outside of the facility would be clad in brickwork to closely match the existing court building, which was built in the 1980s.
The statement concludes: “A small parking provision of 12 cars and one disabled car parking bay is proposed.
“The layout of the parking will be finalised in conjunction with agreed plans as to the location of the replacement trees.
“A draft ecology report is attached and it is recognized that any removal/pruning of trees will be carried out to minimise any impact on biodiversity and to the approval of the authority.
“Whilst the applicant will be willing to provide any additional information required to allow determination of the application it would be greatly appreciated if the application can be dealt with efficiently so as not interrupt the operation of the courts.”
The outcome of the application will be determined by Wrexham Council’s planning committee at a date yet to be confirmed.