A GRAYS councillor has hit out at plans to turn the town’s former Magistrates’ Court building into a start-up centre for businesses.

Proposals to turn the iconic, 83-year-old building, located at the top of Grays High Street, into a business centre that could accomodate up to 110 workers are set to go before cabinet later this month.

But Grays Blackshots councillor Joy Redsell, pictured, would rather see the building turned into a Wetherspoons bar.

She said: “I would very much like to see a Wetherspoons in Grays. “I want to see Grays come alive, more office space will not do anything to the evening trade of Grays.

“I would also want to see the iconic building kept in some form, over the years we have lost so much of our heritage.”

The court was handed back to the council in March 2012 after its time as a court came to an end. Half of the building is currently empty with the other half being used by Thurrock Council’s youth offending service.

The council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, Cllr Andy Smith said: “The council is exploring the potential for reusing the currently empty Magistrates’ Court building as a centre for small businesses.”

A £2million revamp was considered by members of the regeneration scrutiny committee last week, as they debated a report which looked at wider regeneration within Grays.

The three floor building would not need much structural work but would require significant repair, upgrading of services and a lot of redecoration.

Other options, including housing, are also being looked at. The council’s property advisers have suggested the best residential option for the site would be 56 one and two bedroom apartments plus an existing detached house.

But Cllr Garry Hague, who is vice-chairman of the council’s regeneration scrutiny committee, pictured, said: “A multi-use business centre seems to be a desirable use at the moment, but all options need to be looked at to get the best out of the building.

“It could serve a range of uses so I wouldn’t rule anything out. “If it was a pub, that would create jobs, but whether that’s the right thing or not I don’t know, but I’m being open minded.”