Council leader raises ‘significant concerns’ over court closure plans

Chichester Crown Court

Picture by Louise Adams C140033-2 Chichester Crown Court ENGSUS00120140701151430

Chichester Crown Court Picture by Louise Adams C140033-2 Chichester Crown Court ENGSUS00120140701151430

1
Have your say

CLOSURE of Chichester’s courts will make it ‘physically impossible’ for many residents to attend court, a senior councillor has argued.

Chichester District Council leader Tony Dignum has written to under-secretary of state for justice Shailesh Vara, urging him to reconsider the decision.

Highlighting the council’s ‘significant concerns’, Mr Dignum argued the planned closures would have a ‘direct and significant impact’ on the city’s legal firms and present major difficulties for those attending court.

He wrote: “Taking into account the fact that many people living outside Chichester, but within the district need to travel by bus or car to join a train, it is likely to be physically impossible for many people in the outer edges of the district to get to court for morning sessions.  

“This of course will have a disproportionate impact upon the less well-off, rurally isolated and other vulnerable groups.”

Mr Dignum also claimed the decision would also cost the council between £26,000 and £58,000 in officer time and travel costs, when the council attended court for hearings such as enforcement matters.