Campaigners have launched a new bid to save the law courts in Chichester.
Green city councillor Sarah Sharp, is urging people to take part in the community write-in event from May 16-May 22 .
“The government has decided that our courts should be closed, despite our objections and despite a judicial review,” she said. We now need to inundate the Ministry of Justice with letters.”
She is urging people to send post cards and notelets to MP Shailesh Vara at the Ministry of Justice calling on him to save the law courts.
“I am optimistic that with a huge amount of effort on all of our parts we could bring about a change of heart at Whitehall. Despite the plans to redevelop the Southern Gateway area, there should be room to keep access to justice at such an ideal location close to our public transport hub, and combine this with retail, residential and hotel use.”
Campaigners say closing the Chichester law courts will mean longer, more expensive journeys to alternative courts making it especially difficult for people who don’t have a car to access to justice. They say judges would not have local knowledge and there would be long delays as cases could need to find court space.
President of the Chichester and District Law Society Sara Fildes said she believed there was still hope after Chichester Combined Court was named one of eight sites which would not close until local alternative provision was found.
After a meeting with MP Andrew Tyrie , West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith and Chichester District Council leader Tony Dignum Sara told the Observer: “We are all in agreement that we must try to keep a Court hearing centre in Chichester.
“We are now going to be working together looking very closely at whether we can adapt or find alternative provision. We do need the public to be supporting this vital service. We have another meeting scheduled for two weeks.
“Its extremely important now we work hard to ensure we retain local justice for local people. We need to let the government know that the wholesale removal of this vital service from West Sussex is not acceptable.”
Lots of people may feel that the court wont effect them, but anyone could be a victim of crime at any time.”
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