Fleet Street could soon get a large new legal quarter with an entire block given over to new courthouse and police headquarters if plans by the City of London go ahead.
At the moment, the City of London has three courts in two locations, the Civil Court, Mayor’s and City of London Court and City of London Magistrates’ Court — plus four police stations and a headquarters.
Their intention is to demolish an entire block of rather shabby offices on Fleet Street that the City already owns, building a new courthouse fronting onto Fleet Street, and a new police headquarters right behind it.
The result would be a legal complex roughly halfway between the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey.
It will also be good news for journalists while they wait outside the courthouse for a newsworthy story there’s an excellent pub opposite the site – the Olde Cheshire Cheese.
If the courts move, then the current courthouses — next to Mansion House and the Guildhall are listed heritage buildings, so likely to be refurbished into something else.
Two of the City of London Police’s existing buildings have been sold — the headquarters in Wood Street is to be converted into a hotel, while the Snow Hill Station was also sold to a hotel investor.
A police facility for the public is being maintained at Bishopsgate.
A consultation by the City of London is now seeking opinions on the plans to consolidate the sites into one location and shows the basic layout of the plans without yet going into details about the design of the buildings.
When you look at the maps though, something jumps out.
There is an existing alleyway running behind what is likely to be the new courts building, and it can be presumed that the accused facing trial and the convicted being sent for sentencing will go in via the rear of the building, for privacy and security reasons.
It may be forboding then for some that the address they will arrive at will be… Hanging Sword Alley.