Courts will close de­spite cam­paign

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

THE town’s courts WILL close af­ter a ma­jor spend­ing re­view by the Govern­ment.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice will shut Mac­cles­field Mag­is­trates’ Court and Mac­cles­field County Court to save money.

In a change to the orig­i­nal pro­pos­als an­nounced last July, Stock­port Mag­is­trates’ Court will re­main open, which means the work­load from Mac­cles­field Mag­is­trates Court will go there in­stead of Crewe as first sug­gested.

Stock­port County Court will take most of the work­load from Mac­cles­field County Court, with fam­ily pub­lic care work hear­ings trans­ferred to Manch­ester County Court.

This means de­fen­dants, wit­nesses, solic­i­tors and po­lice from Mac­cles­field will still have to travel at least half an hour - or an hour on pub­lic trans­port - to ac­cess the court sys­tem.

Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley, who launched a cam­paign for a to cre­ate a com­bined court for crim­i­nal and cases in Mac­cles­field, said he is dis­ap­pointed with the de­ci­sion.

He said: “How­ever, I am pleased that lo­cal res­i­dents will be able to ac­cess court ser­vices in Stock­port rather than hav­ing to go all the way to Crewe which had been en­vis­aged in the ini­tial pro­pos­als - that is pos­i­tive progress.”

Claire Aldridge, from Wains Solic­i­tors, said lo­cal courts are at the heart of the crim­i­nal jus- tice sys­tem, adding: “The work­load of Mac­cles­field Mag­is­trates’ Court has been slowly whit­tled down in or­der to jus­tify its clo­sure, with the court now only sit­ting two days a week. This is not as a re­sult in a fall­ing crime rate but be­cause Mac­cles­field cases have been out­sourced to Crewe Mag­is­trates.

Fam­ily lawyer Ni­cola McInnes, part­ner at SAS Daniels, said she was ‘ex­tremely sad’ by the de­ci­sion, adding: “The court has been an ex­cel­lent fa­cil­ity for Mac­cles­field. Users will now have to travel to Stock­port, which is al­ready a very busy court.”

Coun Bev­er­ley Doo­ley, who cam­paigned to keep the courts open with MP David Rut­ley, said: “It’s a big dis­ap­point­ment, the town coun­cil put up quite a fight. If you are a vic­tim it’s go­ing to make the whole process much more dif­fi­cult.

“It’s frus­trat­ing be­cause this is some­thing else that’s be­ing taken from Mac­cles­field.”

There are 11 mem­bers of staff based at the Mac­cles­field courts and the court is cur­rently open for court tri­als on Tues­day and Thurs­day.

●● Mac­cles­field Mag­is­trates Court, on Hi­bel Road, is to close fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tion

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