Proposal to close Bury’s court ‘astonishing’, says council leader

John Griffiths.

John Griffiths. - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk residents are being urged to fight against the closure of Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court by the leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

John Griffiths, who has already written to MPs for the west of Suffolk expressing his shock at the move, is urging any court users to send evidence of how the closure will affect them.

Bury’s court, which has sat on the same site for more than 400 years, could close under Ministry of Justice proposals, alongside Lowestoft’s court.

The plans, which will close more than 90 courts nationwide, would leave Suffolk with just one magistrates’ court in Ipswich.

It has been widely condemned by the legal community in west Suffolk, with The EADT launching the Justice for Bury campaign to retain the court in Bury.


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The campaign has been supported by lawyers, the Bury Society, former magistrates and Tim Passmore, the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mr Griffiths, who is also the councillor for Ixworth, previously offered the use of the council’s West Suffolk House, on Western Way, to rehome the court.

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He said: “Personally I find it astonishing that the Ministry of Justice would even consider closing our court, especially in such a rural area.

“For many here in west Suffolk and particularly those who rely on public transport, for example, getting to Ipswich for 10am could be an incredibly difficult challenge, not to mention getting home afterwards.

“Access to local justice is hugely important and I am asking people to let us know how this proposal would affect them if they had to attend as a witness, defendant or as a legal representative.

“We will then use this evidence in our own response to the consultation, and to strengthen the offer we have already made to government that they could share buildings, facilities and technology with us elsewhere in the town if the current court building is no longer fit for purpose.”

You can email any evidence of difficulties the court’s closure could cause to court@westsuffolk.gov.uk or post to John Griffiths, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, West Suffolk House, IP33 3YU.

The government are consulting on the closures until October 8. If you wish to take part in consultation or sign a petition against the closure, visit www.bitly.com/justiceforbury

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