One of the most famous landmark buildings in a historic North East town has been put on the market with a price tag of £750,000.
Morpeth Courthouse – which dates back almost 200 years and was designed by renowned architect John Dobson – is up for sale for the second time in six years.
Built in the early 1820s, the imposing three-storey structure has been a law court to hold petty sessions, the county jail and a police chief constable’s HQ during its long history.
It is being offered for sale by joint agents Edwin Thompson and Sanderson Weatherall, who say the building is filled with original features such as vaulted ceilings and a sweeping staircase, and would make a stunning restaurant, art gallery or events venue.
The Gothic-style courthouse, which is listed Grade 11 by English Heritage, was converted into a bar and restaurant in the 1990s, and more recently was used as a gym and health club.
It is currently disused but the owner has planning permission to revert part of it back into use as a restaurant. The rest of the building has been converted into privately owned luxury apartments.
Darren Naylor, commercial surveyor with Edwin Thompson, said: “With its stunning features and great location, being walking distance from the town centre and having its own parking, the courthouse represents a great investment opportunity.
“It is quite iconic and it’s just a shame that it isn’t being used at the moment. There could be some potential for residential development, but I feel it would make a great restaurant or a venue for functions, parties and conferences. I think people would go there just for the novelty factor.
“However, it all depends who takes it on. I expect there will be interest simply because of the nature of the building, where it is and the fact that it’s a little bit different.”
In a prominent position near the River Wansbeck and the historic Telford Bridge, the courthouse came to symbolise Morpeth, and was used by the former Castle Morpeth Council as its official logo. The building includes the old courthouse itself, a former judge’s chambers and other rooms.
It was last on the market in 2007, five months after then owner Paul Brown closed down the ladies-only health club businesses he ran in the building.
Freehold offers are being sought in the region of £750,000, leasehold £50,000 a year. Anyone interested is asked to call Kevin McGorie at Sanderson Weatherall on 0191 269 0174 or Darren Naylor on 0191 255 7777.