In March 2017, it was announced that Liverpool-based developer Signature Living had purchased the iconic Crumlin Road Courthouse building in Belfast.
The vast building is a well-known landmark in Belfast’s history with many notorious trials being held here including that of the Shankill Butchers, Robert Andrew McGladdery and countless IRA suspects.
The courthouse is connected to the Crumlin Road Jail which lies on the opposite site of the street, the two are connected via an underground tunnel which is apparently where the term ‘send him down’ originated from.
Designed by Charles Lanyon and completed in 1859, the courthouse was a prominent, occupied building for 140 years before its closure in 1998. Since then, the grand building has been left to deteriorate with many potential plans never coming into fruition including numerous plans for a hotel.
Over the years the building has suffered tremendously with a spate of three fires in just 12 months and numerous other weathering factors which have caused rot, flooding and damage to the building’s overall structure.
The Crumlin Road Gaol, which lies opposite the courthouse suffered a similar fate when the jail closed its doors in 1996. The Grade A listed building is a symbol of the cities notorious Troubles where it was home to many notorious criminals, successful escape attempts and countless executions.
Following its closure, the jail was left derelict for over 15 years before it was restored as a tourist attraction and conference centre.
The development of the Crumlin Road Courthouse will be a welcome lifeline for many locals who cherish the city and buildings unique heritage, for others there may be questions over the plans Signature Living have for the iconic building.
Signature Living have pledged an estimated £25 million into the development of this iconic landmark, transforming it into a luxury hotel and destination in its own right.
The group have organised a series of meetings where locals and members of the council can come together and discuss the proposed plans, raise any concerns they may have and speak to the developers.
There will be two pre-application events at the Crumlin Road Gaol, where the proposed plans for the listed building consent to change the use of the existing courthouse into a luxury hotel, with ancillary uses such as spa, pool and function space.
The events which are open to anyone will take place on July 17th and August 17th, and will run between 10 am and 8 pm.