PLANS to use the historic former court house in Warwick as an events venue have been approved.
The Old Shire Hall in Northgate Street was built by William and David Hiorn in 1750 and used by the judiciary for more than three centuries as the home of Warwick Crown Court.
But since Her Majesty’s Courts Service relocated to Leamington in 2010, the grade I-listed building has remained largely unused.
County council chiefs were looking to open up and use the main hall, three court rooms, the prison cells and dungeon, and the grade II-listed building known as Judges House for everything from play and film screenings to live music and dance performances.
The plans include internal and external works to facilitate the use of the buildings as an events venue, including installation of gates, disabled access ramp and installing more toilets and making acoustic improvements inside the venue.
A premises licence was agreed by Warwick District Council in 2016 and the works have now also been approved by the district’s planning committee.
A county council spokeswoman said of the plans: “Finding new uses for former court rooms has worked well around the country and the council hopes to operate the Old Shire Hall as a premier hospitality venue.
“Our aspiration is to use the building for events and occasions such as weddings, award dinners, civic ceremonies and classical concerts.
“The county council is committed to conserving the building and we are determined it is not left empty or to decay.
“By operating the Old Shire Hall in this way, it will have a sustainable future, generate the income required to maintain a grade I-listed building and bring benefits to the wider community.”