A £13 MILLION court house is to open in Newport this autumn.

The magistrates' court off Lower Dock Street will replace the old court in Clytha Park Road which shut in January 2012.

The old court, which is part of the Civic Centre, was deemed unfit for purpose and has been handed back to Newport City Council, the Ministry of Justice said.

The state-of-the-art court house will deal with cases which have been sent to courts in Cwmbran, Caerphilly and Abergavenny since last year.

The three storey-building is poised to become a new city landmark with four court rooms equipped with modern facilities and a plate-glass entrance hall opening onto Usk Way.

Up to 34 new jobs could be created as a result, with some positions filled by transferring staff from other courts, the Government has said.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman told the Argus: "The building will include four modern courtrooms with improved facilities for all users.

"The construction phase is due for completion in summer 2013 with the official opening scheduled for October 2013 following the internal works.

"The capital cost of the new building is £13 million.

"The site of the former Newport Magistrates' Court, which formed part of the Civic Centre, has been handed back to Newport City Council."

Proposals for a new magistrates' court were first mooted in 1987.

The old magistrates' court was declared unfit for purpose around 12 years ago and it closed suddenly in January 2012.

Another magistrates' court building is still standing in Gold Tops, Newport.

The structure, built in 1905, has not been used as a court for years, Newport City Council said yesterday.

The new court off Lower Dock Street will be environmentally friendly, feature holding cells and a 22-space car park.