FOLLOWING A SERIES OF EARLIER STUDIES ASSISTING THE HMCS IN SELECTING SITES FOR CONSOLIDATING THE COURT SERVICES IN ESSEX AND THE PREPARATION FEASIBILITY STUDY, THE PRACTICE WAS APPOINTED TO DESIGN TWO MAGISTRATES' COURT BUILDINGS FOR THE TOWNS OF CHELMSFORD AND COLCHESTER. COLCHESTER MAGISTRATES' COURTS ACCOMMODATE FIVE COURT ROOMS, INCLUDING ONE YOUTH COURT, ON A CONFINED AND HIGH PROFILE SITE, ADJACENT TO THE CONSERVATION AREA OF ST. BOTOLPH'S PRIORY.
The Courthouse frames and provides a focal point to a new public square. Therefore, the site, though constrained, is key to the greater masterplan for the regeneration of Colchester.
Constraints included the railway and station terminus immediately to the north, and an arterial road rising a to a one storey height to the south. The proposal responded to the urban design brief by addressing the new square with a prominent five-storey element, housing two courtrooms stacked above one another immediately above the main entrance from the square.