End of the road for magistrates’ court

Reporter:

Matt Jones

FLINT magistrates’ court will close in two months’ time, it has been announced.

The historic courthouse is to close in April, according to the head of the court service in Wales.

In December Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke confirmed controversial plans to shut more than 150 magistrates’ and county courts across England and Wales in a bid to save £15.3m a year.

Former magistrate and Flint councillor David Cox said the closure was a “sad day for local justice”.

He said: “This is what we expected. We have been in discussion with the court service for some considerable time.

“When the last government was in power we had assurances the court would not close. We did not have that assurance from this Government.”

Politicians, councillors and court staff have expressed grave concerns about the cuts which they say will mean justice will no longer be delivered locally.

Community leaders in Flint campaigned against the closure and were supported by Holywell Town Council and other bodies.

Cllr Cox said: “We have tried our best. We made the strongest possible case.The court was not in a good condition but that was because they did not make the necessary investment.

“It is going to be more difficult for people to get to Mold, especially people who can ill afford to travel.”

Clare Pillman, HMCS director for Wales, announced the court will close in April with Denbigh magistrates’ court to remain open until April 2013 and Rhyl county court until July 2013.

She said: “Some of the courts will cease to provide a public-facing service on a date to be fixed before the formal closure date as part of the transition.”

See full story in the Leader

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