Join Ely Standard Campaign To Fight For Magistrates' Court

PUBLISHED: 18:13 02 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 May 2010

BEING a local councillor is generally a rewarding task as local members often have the chance to help improve the lives of the people they serve. Of course, different people have different views on various issues and full and frank discussion is part of a

BEING a local councillor is generally a rewarding task as local members

often have the chance to help improve the lives of the people they

serve.

Of course, different people have different views on various issues and full

and frank discussion is part of a local democratic government and is

often the way matters are resolved. It is impossible to please all of the

people all of the time, however hard one tries.

Some matters are really upsetting and disappointing and the proposed

closure by Her Majesty's Court Service of the Magistrate's Court in Ely

is one of those issues.

I believe that the Magistrate's Court was designed with the help of Judge

Christian who I understand was the judge who sentenced the Littleport

Rioters to hang. Legend has it that Judge Christian, who was the brother

of Fletcher Christian (Mutiny on The Bounty fame), was so disgusted with

the court facilities on the Market Place that he campaigned for the

building of the new court that exists in Lynn Road. The current building,

with its grand Palladian frontage, has been in my lifetime the police

station and a crown court. It is a building of much beauty and

exceptional historical importance. It is also my understanding that in

the days of the Isle of Ely, the building was also used as Shire

Hall before the one in March was constructed. It must be retained.

The whole basis of British justice is that at magistrates level it is

for local people, by local people and in front of local people. The

magistrates are local people who understand the local area and the

clients who are brought to the court. How can moving the court to

Cambridge serve the local people or local justice?

East Cambridgeshire is one of the fastest growing areas in Europe and the need

for local justice will increase as the population increases, so now is

not the time to take away a local facility. This facility may well be

more in demand as the credit crunch and its impact push people into

difficulty.

The court is an employer and the current climate requires jobs not

redundancy notices.

Central Government and particularly the Department of Communities keeps

telling local government that we need sustainable communities and we

should be creating jobs and facilities locally. I agree with this goal

and that is one of the reasons why I so much hate the idea of Mereham.

The closure of Ely Magistrates Court is wrong, as is the closure of local

post offices. We do not want even more reasons why people should drive

to Cambridge and block our already overcrowded roads.

The closure is wrong because:

* The building is important historically.

* Justice at the lower level should be local and seen to be done.

* We need more facilities, not less, to meet the needs of an expanding

population.

* The area needs local jobs.

* We need sustainable places for people to live in and work in.

I urge local residents to support the Ely Standard's campaign.

Bill Hunt

Cambridge Road, Ely

Long time local resident and county councillor

INFO: To sign our petition against the closure of the Magistrate's Court, go to: www.elystandard24.co.uk and sign our petition.

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