Barnet’s oldest existing court house will be converted into flats after development plans were approved this evening.

The well-known façade of Barnet Court House, built in High Barnet High Street in 1916, will be preserved under new plans put forward after proposals to demolish the building were rejected last year.

Nine new flats will be built within the existing structure, as well as provision for two new shops on the ground floor.

Barnet Residents’ Association and campaign group The Barnet Society had earlier expressed their hope that the plans would be approved to secure the preservation of the landmark.

Although listed as a building of local importance, English Heritage said there was not sufficient merit to preserve the building in its entirety.

Neighbours objecting to the development on grounds that it would cause parking problems did not attend to speak at tonight’s meeting, despite two expressing an interest in doing so.

Members of Barnet Council’s planning committee did express concerns over parking provision but they were not enough to prevent the unanimous approval of the development.

Council leader Richard Cornelius, sitting on the committee, said he was pleased to see the historic building, which has been empty for five years, being brought back into use.

Conditions on the developer include recording structural plans of the existing building for historic purposes.

He is also required to pay money that will go directly to improving green open spaces at the Old Court House Recreation Ground and Ravenscourt Park.