Closure of port magistrates' building nowconfirmed
Fleetwood Court is to finally close, it has been announced.
The closure of the court, on The Esplanade, will result in money being reinvested into the justice system after evidence showed the facility is under-used and nearby courts have additional capacity.
Fleetwood is currently only open from three to five days per week, and is not fully utilised.
Lord Chancellor David Gauke confirmed that, following careful consideration of local travel times and public transport, family services will be relocated to Blackpool County Court.
Some civil proceedings will now be being heard at Blackpool Magistrate’s Court.
Blackpool is seen as having good public transport links, with bus, railway and tram stations near the court.
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has vowed it will ensure a smooth transition. Mr Gauke said: “All money raised from the sale will be reinvested into the justice system and those affected by closures will have access to alternative courts.”
A public consultation was launched earlier this year into Fleetwood and other courts.
There has not been a criminal court at Fleetwood Since October 2013, but family court sessions are still held in the building on The Esplanade.
The decision has been blasted by Fleetwood’s MP Cat Smith.
Ms Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “I was disappointed to learn that the Ministry of Justice, despite local opposition, has taken the decision to close Fleetwood Family Court.
“I strongly believe justice should be delivered locally.
“More than a third of people in Fleetwood (35 per cent) don’t have access to a car, meaning they’ll have to rely on public transport to attend the family division in Blackpool.”