SOCIAL Development Minister Nelson McCausland believes there is a potential to redevelop the former Crumlin Road courthouse in north Belfast.
The DUP MLA announced on Wednesday that consultants have been appointed to study redevelopment opportunities for historic building on the Crumlin Road.
Turley Associates have been appointed to start work on a development study.
The building, where the infamous supergrass trials of the 1980s were held, has been lying empty for over a decade.
An underground tunnel linked the court with the Crumlin Road prison across the main road.
A number of fires on the courthouse site caused major damage to the building, including its roof.
Announcing the appointment, the Minister said: “Crumlin Road Courthouse is one of Belfast’s well known landmarks and consultants can now look at the building’s development potential more closely.
“Although the building is in private ownership, its historical and architectural value means that the people of the area and indeed the wider public hold a real interest in its future, especially when they have seen the Gaol site across the road flourish in recent years.
“This study has the support of a number of key statutory agencies working together.
“My Department is working in co-operation with the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the Strategic Investment Board, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency who together form a steering group to guide the consultants.
“Over the next four months the consultants will engage a wide range of stakeholders to produce a report that identifies a model for development.”
The study aims to identify future potential uses for the Courthouse that are deliverable, sustainable and that makes a contribution to the wider social, economic and physical regeneration of the area.