Worksop: Plans to fully close town court is ‘final nail in coffin’, MP says

Bassetlaw Games awards night.  Pictured is MP John Mann (w121008-7p)
Bassetlaw Games awards night. Pictured is MP John Mann (w121008-7p)
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The Government’s decision to release plans to close Worksop Magistrates’ Court is the ‘final nail in the coffin’, according to Bassetlaw MP John Mann.

On Thursday the Ministry of Justice announced that consultations across England and Wales on the future of courthouses will run until 8th October.

The plans propose to move all cases permanently to Mansfield Magistrates’ Court, which is where criminal hearings have taken place this year, with Worksop just sitting once a week on the first Friday of every month for civil cases.

The report says that the 2014/15 operating costs for Worksop Magistrates’ Court were approximately £145,000.

Mr Mann said: “Local justice has been good enough for the last thousand years in Bassetlaw and there is no good reason to change that now.”

“There have been numerous reports of people struggling to attend court in Mansfield. The Government fails to recognise the geographic size of Bassetlaw and the transport difficulties.”

The closure of Worksop Magistrates’ Court formed part of the Courts Estates Rationalisation Programme in 2010.

It was proposed that courts in both Worksop and Retford close and the combined workload be transferred to Mansfield Magistrates’ Court. The courts were retained at the time as it was deemed that Mansfield would not be able to cope with the capacity. However that is not the case now, and the facilities at Mansfield are described as ‘modern’ with 24 courtrooms and eight police cells.

Some facilities at the Worksop court are deemed ‘not fit for purpose’ and there are issues with wheelchair access to the first floor rooms.

Mr Mann added: “The Government adopted a plan of death by a thousand cuts for Worksop Courthouse and today’s announcement is the final nail in the coffin.”

On the consultation, the Ministry of Justice said: “These proposals will provide the organisation with a reduced and sustainable estate from which to deliver our business, increase efficiency, and improve our services.”

View the consultation at consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/proposal-on-the-provision-of-court-and-tribunal-es.