Council motion pleads for king’s Lynn County Court repreive

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Council leaders have called for Lynn’s county court to be kept open, as public consultations on plans to close it near their conclusion.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice announced that the facility, which is currently housed in Chequer House, King Street, was among more than 80 court and tribunal buildings threatened with the axe.

A public consultation on the proposals is due to close next month.

But, ahead of that, a motion to be debated at West Norfolk Council’s meeting on Thursday will call for the site to be reprieved.

The motion, which has been tabled by the council’s leader, Nick Daubney, said: “This council calls on the Ministry of Justice to retain King’s Lynn County Court, as a vital part of maintaining West Norfolk’s position as a vibrant local community.

“Further, the council instructs officers to assemble necessary facts and information to assist this council in making the very strongest case to government to retain the local service and investigates local facilities and assistance that the council may offer to support retention of such services.”

Mr Daubney said: “I can see exactly where the government are coming from. The case load probably isn’t that high to justify having these permanent buildings.”

But he added: “We’ve got work with the Ministry of Justice to find a solution, because it’s essential that we maintain a local presence.

“Can you imagine living in Hunstanton and you have a court appointment at 10.30 in the morning in Norwich? How would you do it?”

The town’s magistrates court building in College Lane and the nearby town hall have already been proposed as possible alternatives should the county court, which currently hosts inquest hearings, is closed, amid political demands to retain a local service.

However, the government has claimed its plans could save £500 million by closing courts and tribunals, which it says are currently underused.

They say that a third of all courts and tribunals were empty for more than 50 per cent of the time last year.

A public consultation, which was launched via the Ministry of Justice’s website, www.justice.gov.uk, when the proposals were announced in July, will close on October 8.