Courts will close despite campaign
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