Southport's former law courts switch to offices a step closer
Detailed plans for the redesign of Southport's former law courts as offices for an advertising business have now been drawn up.
Access Point Ltd bought the 26,000 sq ft building in Albert Road in May to provide larger premises for the growing company.
The plans have now been drawn up by architects NJSR and the contract for the building work is currently out to tender, with the owners hopeful work will begin next month.
Co-owner Jeanette Morgan said the designs and materials being used would be sympathetic to the original features within the building, using glass to open up spaces to get as much light in as possible.
She added: “We will be preserving the wood flooring and panelling; we have been quite stubborn with the architects on that. It has always been really important to us, we want to keep the original features.
“It is just a case of us keeping the designs sympathetic to the building, but making it useful for us too.”
The wall between court rooms two and three will be removed to create an open, larger space, but court room one will remain the same, with a view to rent it out to film and TV companies.
The designs will also feature meeting rooms, a staff “break-out” room, canteen, more office space and ample storage – especially in the former cells.
Jeanette said the building was “a real rabbit warren”, adding: “One of the meeting rooms will also be created out of what was once the public gallery to one of the courts.
“We will be keeping it open plan so there is still that buzz from the office. The staff are all really excited and we are really looking forward to being on one floor.”
The company, co-owned with David and Amanda Robertshaw, was founded in 1997 and moved into its present premises – the former Headlines hairdressers in Lord Street, above Russell and Bromley – in January 2000.
Jeanette said: “When we came into here, we had to take all the sinks out. We are used to refurbishing.”
With some of their clients including Sainsbury’s, Wickes, Macro, Argos and Homebase and with a 20% year-on-year growth, Access Point will be looking to take on more staff, from its current 45, once the move is complete.
While staying tight-lipped about how much they paid for the courts, Jeanette said the refurbishment would probably equal the sale price.
She said that, as the firm intends to use around 8,000 sq ft of the available space, it would be looking at renting out the extra office space.
She added: “Every so often we get a phone call asking about it, but it’s just a matter of waiting until we are settled.
“Things are really taking shape; we are really excited but very nervous at the same time. It is a brilliant project.”