Courts in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Colchester are set to close

Bury Magistrates Court.

Bury Magistrates Court.

Courts in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Colchester are all earmarked for the axe by Government.

The county court in Colchester, the magistrates’ and family court in Bury St Edmunds and the magistrates’ court in Lowestoft are all set for closure under Ministry of Justice plans.

They are among 91 courts set to close in England and Wales. The Government said it was looking at using Town Halls and other civic buildings for hearings in rural areas.

There are currently 460 courts and tribunal hearing centres across England and Wales, which cost the Government about half a billion pounds each year.

Courts Minister Shailesh Vara claimed that last year more than a third of all courts and tribunals were empty for more than half of their available hearing time.

He said: “Attending court is rare for most people. It will still be the case that, after these changes, over 95pc of citizens will be able to reach their required court within an hour by car. This represents a change of just 1pc for Crown and magistrates’ courts and 2pc for County Courts.

He said that it would find “alternative ways for users to access our services” in more rural areas and Town Halls could be used for hearings instead.

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“As we bring in digital technology for better and more efficient access to justice, fewer people will need to physically be in a court,” he said.

“This means that we will need fewer buildings, and with many already underused and in poor quality, now is a good time to review the estate.”

A consultation begins today and will run for 12 weeks.

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