Retford: Dance school breathes new life into old court house

Retford Magistrates' Court
Retford Magistrates' Court

Retford’s old magistrates’ court in Exchange Street has been revitalised with a new lease of life as a dance school.

The former court house, near to the market square, was sold to the owner of De Burnays School of Dance last month.

Wendy De Burnay Bastos has already relocated to the historic building and has set about revamping it into a dance school and dancewear shop.

De Burney’s School of Dance was previously located on Wharf Road in the town.

Now, court rooms where justice was once served will be the setting for a different kind of trial, as dancers practice, compete and take exams inside the historic building.

“We were so excited when we first viewed the court house, I just felt I could plug in my stereo and start to teach and dance – the building was perfect,” said Wendy.

“We spent less than two weeks transforming it into the dance school of my dreams, everyone loves it.”

Retford Magistrates’ Court closed its doors in summer 2011 the Ministry of Justice listed it among 142 underused courts to be closed.

The nationwide initiative aimed to save £41.5 million from the public purse, and £38.5 million from the sale of assets.

Despite a feisty campaign to keep the court open, the doors finally shut. And cases from Retford have since been heard at Worksop and Mansfield magistrates’ courts.

The two storey period building holds nearly 4,000 sq ft of space.

“We are delighted to have sold this prominent building to Wendy for De Burnay’s School of Dance,” said Gemma Constantinou, senior surveyor at DTZ, the property adviser which sold the court house on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

“The building has a number of attractive period features, including high ceilings, original oak doors and decorative coving which will give the new dance school a unique sense of character.”

Jeremy Baguley, partner at Brown & Co, which represented Wendy De Burnay’s interests in the sale, said: “I am proud to have assisted Wendy in her relocation, selling her former premises and acquiring the court house.”

“The court house is an iconic building in the town, ideally suited to Wendy’s operation and hopefully this move secures its long term future.”