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Former magistrates court becomes £1.7m town centre hub for law firm

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

Stephens Scown staff outside their new base in St Austell. In the foreground is its family team partner Peter Marshall, who heads the office

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The first phase of the £1.7 million redevelopment of law firm Stephens Scown's St Austell office has been completed, bringing seven new staff to the town – six of whom are new recruits.

St Austell-based developer DB Gilbert has invested £753,000 in the project, which has also received £944,000 ERDF Convergence backing. It has seen the town's historic former magistrates court become an integral part of the law firm's new base.

Local architects Alan Leather Associates drew up the blueprints for the project, which is being undertaken in two stages. In the new year, it will become a single operational base in the town for the law firm, which also has regional offices in Truro and Exeter.

Since it established a presence in St Austell in 1930, the firm has grown to take over five buildings across three streets in the town. One, on Cross Street, was sold to the developer. This will become part of the new office development during a second-phase build now under way and due for completion in December.

The law firm will retain another property to use for additional storage, with the remaining buildings being put up for sale, with one is already on the market.

The newly-completed first phase has seen the acquisition and sympathetic redevelopment of the former magistrates court, which is situated in front of, and will open out into, Stephen's Scown's High Cross Street office.

This has seen the creation of a new reception area, client meeting rooms and office space for staff. Original features including main staircase, stained glass windows and original fireplaces have been retained, with the building's carved sandstone exterior renovated.

The completed development will provide 68 staff with 700 square metres of working space under one roof.

Peter Marshall, who heads the St Austell office, said: "Our firm's origins are in the town, so I'm particularly excited that we have played a key role in redeveloping and reinvigorating these old buildings in the town centre."

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