Council to fight Flintshire court closure plan

Reporter:

Matt Jones

NO CASE has been made for the closure of one of the region’s courts.

That is the view of councillors as the consultation period on the future of Flint Magistrates’ Court comes to an end.

The site could shut as part of Government cost-cutting with a total of 103 magistrates’ courts and 54 county courts across England and Wales under threat.

Courts minister Jonathan Djanogly says the move will save £15.3 million a year.

Cllr Ian Roberts said he had seen documents that said the previous Labour Government had a £1 million plan to re-develop the court house.

He said: “We do need to make it known that the previous Government did have a proposal. They have not made a case for closure.

“This is not just a ‘we want to keep it in Flint’ issue. It will have a direct effect on services in the area.”

Support to keep the site open has also come from Holywell town council and the office of the coroner for North East Wales.

Concerns have been raised that closing the court, which has links stretching back more than 700 years, would increase travel time and cost faced by those who would have to travel to Mold.

Cllr Terry Renshaw said: “We are going to fight this all the way. We need local justice done locally by local people.”

The council has made a request under the Freedom of Information Act for details of the proposed improvement plan for the court.

In a letter to the council Stephen Whale, director of Courts Transformation for Wales, said all representations made by the council will be considered by the Lord Chancellor before any decision on the closure is made.

He said: “The feasibility study undertaken, considering the possibility of improvements to Flint Magistrates’ Court, was not at any stage progressed into any refurbishment programme.”

A public consultation will run until September 15.

See full story in the Leader

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