Closure of Chorley Magistrates' Court shows a 'lack of commitment to law and order in Lancashire', says borough MP
A decision to close Chorley Magistrates' Court has been slammed by the town's MP Â '“ who says it shows the UK government '˜is no longer committed to law and order in Lancashire'.
The Ministry of Justice announced that the court was to close “after evidence showed the building was significantly under used”.
The closure, which is expected to take place between March and September 2019, will see services moved to Preston Magistrates’ Court.
Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, has expressed his concern with the decision, saying: “I have been assured by successive ministers that Chorley Magistrates’ Court was safe; today the government has backtracked.
“I am very concerned by this move but I can only surmise that with nearly 800 officers cut from duty in Lancashire and the closure of the court house, that the government is no longer committed to law and order here in Lancashire.”
The Government claims the move to Preston will see an average travel time increase of five minutes by car and 15 minutes by public transport.
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor David Gauke, said: “All money raised from the sale of these buildings will be reinvested into the justice system, and we want to reassure communities that those affected by closures will have access to alternative courts.
“We must ensure we use public money effectively and make decisions in the best interest of the wider justice system.”
The decision to close the court – as well a further six in Fleetwood, Banbury, Blackfriars, Maidenhead, Northallerton, and Wandsworth – was taken following a 10 -week consultation to close eight magistrates’ courts across the country.
More than 130 jobs are expected to be affected following the closures.