Chichester MP welcomes shock courts lifeline

Councillors, lawyers and residents holding a public protest outside the courts earlier this year
Councillors, lawyers and residents holding a public protest outside the courts earlier this year
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The incredible top level turnaround which could see Chichester’s law courts saved from closure has been welcomed by senior local politicians who have been behind the campaign from the start.

Both Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie and West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith have told the Observer of their delight.

Mr Tyrie said: “I’m delighted that the Ministry of Justice has agreed to put the closure of Chichester Combined Court on hold to enable it to consider other proposals.

“Since the plan was first announced, I have been concerned that the closures would make access to justice much more difficult, and unacceptably so, for my constituents. The Government has presented no compelling economic case for the closures.

“Nor did it adequately consider proposals to keep at least some courts open.

“I made these points to ministers repeatedly, both publicly and privately.

“Local efforts to seek a judicial review were certainly justified.

“I’m glad that someone was listening. The Government has agreed to think again.

“I hope that this time a more transparent decision will be taken, based on solid evidence, and which takes into account the reasonable needs of residents.”

It follows last week’s shock but welcome announcement that the Government was reviewing its decision to close Chichester’s crown and county court. Following action started by Resolution West Sussex on a judicial review, the Government will now review Resolution’s proposal to move crown and county facilities into the empty magistrates’ court, which closed in August.

Mrs Goldsmith said: “The Government’s announcement to reconsider their decision to close the Chichester combined court is very welcome news indeed and I very much hope that Resolution West Sussex’s proposal for a combined court will be adopted as I know many of the residents I represent have been very worried about the courts closing.

“So this is good news and my thanks to Resolution West Sussex for their commitment and dedication in achieving this breakthrough and of course Andrew Tyrie who has been so supportive.”

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