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Speaking out, against Sutton Coldfield court closure - local news
Sutton Coldfields top magistrate has teamed up with Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell MP to condemn the governments plans to shut our courts.

Bench chairman Norman Ball has described the proposed closure as unacceptable and has criticised many aspects of the consultation.

It was announced earlier this year that the Lichfield Road law court had been earmarked for closure as part of a bid to save £35million from the public purse.

It is one of 157 courts around the country - many of which, unlike Sutton Coldfield , are very run down or no longer used - facing closure.

Sutton Coldfields MP Mr Mitchell came out last week to condemn the plans, saying the case to keep them open was a particularly strong one.

And Mr Ball this week met with fellow magistrates to compose a nine-page letter detailing their response to the consultation, which they will send to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.

Local people, with local knowledge, should deliver justice for the benefit of the local community, argued Mr Ball.

In his letter he strongly made several points as to why the court house should remain open. These ranged from increased travel costs for those attending the court, to Sutton Coldfield s sense of individuality and people wanting to see justice dispensed locally.

Mr Ball also argues that Sutton Coldfield is used more frequently than many other courts around the country - even those not earmarked for closure. He even points to figures that show it costs only half of what Solihull Magistrates costs to keep running.

The buildings inadequacies identified within the proposal are the result of lack of investment through neglect.

The Ministry of Justices proposal claims that Victoria Law Courts in the city centre are adequate enough to cope with Suttons case load - but all of Suttons magistrates profoundly disagree with this claim.

If you would like to contribute to the consultation, which closes on September 15, visit www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/consultation-cp16-10.htm.

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Posted On:  31 August, 2010
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