MPs protest at giving Suffolk worst courts per square mile ratio

Jo Churchill has written to Michael Gove. ANL-140511-234503009
Jo Churchill has written to Michael Gove. ANL-140511-234503009
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Four Suffolk MPs have signed a letter to the Justice Secretary calling for a rethink on the policy that would give Suffolk the worst ratio of courts to area in the country.

The open letter by Bury St Edmunds’ MP Jo Churchill to Michael Gove, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of Justice, has also been signed by Dan Poulter for Central Suffolk, James Cartlidge for South Suffolk and Peter Aldous for Waveney.

The Government is consulting on plans to close 91 courts and tribunals across England and Wales, including those in Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft. The consultation on it closes on the October 8.

Mrs Churchill said: “My colleagues and I want justice to remain local. Suffolk is the eighth largest county in England. If the proposals go ahead and the courts close, we will have the worst proportion of courts per square mile in the country and will be one of only six counties to operate just a single court.

“Constituents may have to travel up to 45 miles to access justice services.”

The letter says Bury offers the chance to move the court to the ‘One Public Estate Programme’ (West Suffolk House) and says Lowestoft court is a well located modern building.

The letter said they would explain their concerns at a debate at Westminster Hall tomorrow.