Armidale Regional Council has secured the old Armidale Courthouse as a public asset for the people of the region, but it has no immediate plans for it or the financial ability to reopen it.
The old Armidale Courthouse had been mothballed and secured in a vacant state by the NSW Government for the past nine years before the council officially acquired the building precinct for $1.
Armidale Mayor Sam Coupland said council has championed for it to be retained as a public asset due to its historic value and flagship location in the Armidale Mall, however council's poor financial position has previously been a significant barrier to council taking on the building.
"Our current financial position still restricts our ability to reopen the building in any meaningful way anytime soon," Mr Coupland said.
"We felt the need to step in to ensure property NSW did not consider a private sale of such an important public asset. Council has forecast the costs of holding the courthouse in its current state as about $50-60K per annum."
Mr Coupland said council was able to afford the holding costs for the next few years through recent land sales in Armidale.
"What council has taken on (on behalf of the community) 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 more land or property sales and this will also need to be supplemented with NSW Government grant funding."
Coinciding with council's decision to secure the old Armidale Courthouse as a public asset is the inclusion of the site 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 Mr Coupland
"The heritage registration should also assist us, with the support of Adam Marshall, to secure funding for major restoration and future development," Mr Coupland said.
"Council will undertake consultation with the community and interested stakeholders on potential future uses of the site."
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