THE STATE government has backflipped on its decision to auction the Armidale Courthouse and will wait to see if the building is given a heritage listing.
Community members have campaigned for five years to have the heritage building gifted to residents to use as an arts and cultural hub, Armidale Courthouse Trust member Gordon Cope said.
“We’re very keen to work with the historical society and people who are passionate about the heritage of the place,” he said.
“We hope in a short space of time that we can turn it into a buzzing hub to promote the arts and we have a great opportunity because the building has ten rooms beside the courtroom.
“With a great refurb it would make a fabulous performance space and seat 100 to 120 people.”
It’s not the first time the future of the old courthouse has come under question, in 2014 it was slated for use as a government ‘one stop shop’ but failed its assessment as a government service centre due to unsatisfactory accessibility.
A lack of parking proved to be a sticking point if the key was customer service.
Mr Cope wants to rent spaces to non-government organisations at less than commercial rates to draw more exhibitors to the historic building.
“Armidale lost a culturally significant institution when The Armidale Club was incinerated, which was sad because it was a centre for contemporary music,” he said.
“The only other prospect is to do your own performances or perform in pokie-ridden [sic] clubs – we would intend to make that space available for contemporary music.
“We would need a liquor licence but it would be an income stream.”
The Armidale Courthouse Trust is not yet a registered association.