MP Jo Churchill left Justice Minister ‘in no doubt’ about Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ closure concerns

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill revealed she held an “urgent meeting” with Justice Minister Shailesh Vara.

Bury General Election Count 2015. Jo Churchill is elected as MP.

Bury General Election Count 2015. Jo Churchill is elected as MP. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill said she left the Justice Minister “in no doubt” of her concerns over plans to close Bury Magistrates’ Court.

The government announced plans to close 91 courts across the country last week, including Bury Magistrates’ and Family Court and Lowestoft Magistrates, leaving Suffolk with just one magistrates’ court in Ipswich.

Conservative MP Mrs Churchill said: “On hearing of the potential closure in Bury, I insisted on an urgent meeting with Justice Minister Shailesh Vara.

“We discussed my concerns and those of my constituents and I left him in no doubt of my views.

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“My point was that Ipswich is a long distance, and whether there are ways we can use modern technology or different, less costly venues to keep our services local.

“He has assured me that this is a proper consultation and he welcomes any alternative or out of the box suggestions that people can put to him.

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“He is listening, so I am urging anyone with an interest to engage with the consultation and make their views known.”

The MoJ are consulting on the proposals until October 8. The plans justify the closure of Bury’s court due to high running costs associated with the Grade II listed Old Shire Hall.

They claim that last year only 44% of the building’s capacity was used last financial year.

The Justice for Bury campaign has garnered support from across the legal community as well as the leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, John Griffiths, and Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury.

Last week the EADT launched a petition against the closure.

Yesterday Suffolk County councillor Richard Kemp, a retired magistrate of 36 years experience, hit out at the planned closure and called on the Bury MP to show some “Churchillian spirit” by opposing the proposal.

If you wish to view the plans, sign our petition or send your views to the MoJ, all the relevant links and information can be found at

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