Taxpayers have spent more than £100,000 maintaining an empty historic court building controversially closed last year to save the Government cash, the Burton Mail can reveal.
In the year since Burton Magistrates' Court closed, a total of £104,000 has been spent on maintenance and security for the Grade II listed building and its extension, which the Government, as owners, are required to do until it is sold.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which has taken over the building with a view to sell, said the outlay was necessary to secure the property for sale.
The news has been dubbed "disappointing" by campaigner Andrew Bettridge, who fought to keep the historic court open, with a petition signed by 2,000 people in the town.
The figure has been revealed following a second Freedom of Information request submitted by the Burton Mail. The latest request asked for a list of costs spent on the building from April 1, when it transferred to the HCA from the Ministry of Justice, to the present day.
The costs are as follows:
Building and grounds maintenance works: £25,512
Health and safety surveys: £3,850
Security, CCTV installation and monitoring: £20,150
Managing agents/consultants: £4,000
It comes as a previous Freedom of Information request submitted by the Burton Mail revealed that an estimated £51,000 had been spent on maintaining the empty building since its closure on September 30, 2016, to February 1, this year. It brings the total to £104,806.40.
Campaigner Andrew Bettridge said: "It's really disappointing to see such large amounts of public money being spent on a building that is no longer in use. When the Government harp on about austerity, there is no excuse for such a wastage of public money.
"However there is a broader point to make and remind people that the magistrates' court isn't the only building in the town that just sits empty costing taxpayers.
"The town's elected representatives who are elected to make the town a more prosperous and better place for people to live need to be far more proactive so this steady decline to the town's fortunes can be halted."
The HCA has said to ensure taxpayers get the best price for the building, surveys had to be undertaken to identify any issues relating to the court as well as improved security to prevent illegal access.
A spokesman said: "The HCA took ownership of the Grade II listed former court building from the Ministry of Justice so that we can use our skills to dispose of this public asset for the best possible value for taxpayers.
"In order to be able to both protect the heritage of this Edwardian building and to understand any issues relating to a building that is more than 100 years old we had to undertake surveys. The reports that we have received now mean that we can work with the local planning officers to identify the best future use for the building.
"While the building stands empty, we are responsible for keeping it in a suitable state of repair until we dispose of it for its eventual future use. Our duty of care also includes preventing people from illegally entering the building and coming to harm as a result of their actions."
When asked if £104,000 maintaining the empty court was value for money, the spokesman said: "Regarding value for money, the transfer price reflects both the condition of the building and the likely costs to the public. For all work that we have contracted, we use our own professional experience coupled with a competitive tendering process to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum."
The Courts and Tribunals Service, which managed the court, said it had cost £200,000 a year to keep it open.