People are being urged to have their say as a Government consultation on a proposal to close Hartlepool Magistrates’ and County Court draws to an end.
The Ministry of Justice is consulting on its plans to close 91 courts and tribunals in England and Wales including Hartlepool’s court.
The proposed court closures are aimed at addressing court buildings that are not fully used with a focus on greater use of technology through video and telephone conferencing to make savings.
Hartlepool’s court building was said to have used 47 per cent of its total capacity in 2014-15.
If the court was to close, cases would be dealt with by Teesside Magistrates’ and County Court, in Middlesbrough.
The extra travelling distance and cost to defendants, victims and families is one of the reasons why objectors say it should not happen.
The consultation is set to close tomorrow Coun Akers-Belcher has renewed his plea for people who live and work in the town to take part in the consultation.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “I have said on many occasions that a town of Hartlepool’s size should have its own Magistrates’ and County Court.
“This is yet another example of Government cuts which will without doubt have a hugely detrimental effect on people at a local level.
“The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the proposed changes until tomorrow and I would urge those people that live and work in Hartlepool to participate in the consultation process.
“Closure would be so unfair to people who will be forced to bear the cost of travelling to Middlesbrough.
“If we lose our courts I cannot see a day when they will be able to return, which will be a sad loss to justice in our community.”
Further background to the proposal can be accessed at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/proposal-on-the-provision-of-court-and-tribunal-es.