Ely Standard Appeals To Lord Chancellor To Save Magistrate's Court

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

Sheila Friend Smith with Debbie Davies

Sheila Friend Smith with Debbie Davies

THE Ely Standard has appealed to the Lord Chancellor to keep Ely Magistrates Court open. Editor Debbie Davies was joined by Ely s mayor Sheila Friend-Smith, to post hundreds of signatures to the Royal Courts of Justice this week, in a bid to save the bu

THE Ely Standard has appealed to the Lord Chancellor to keep Ely Magistrates' Court open.

Editor Debbie Davies was joined by Ely's mayor Sheila Friend-Smith, to post hundreds of signatures to the Royal Courts of Justice this week, in a bid to save the building and the courts service for the city and its surrounding communities.

The listed building on Lynn Road, built in the 19th Century after the Littleport Riots, was designated for closure on March 26, but after finding out they had not followed procedure, Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) has given it an indeterminate stay of execution. The final decision on the court closure rests with the Lord Chancellor following a recommendation from an "area committee" of HMCS staff - but the Ely Standard has never been told when and how these decisions have been made.

According to the HMCS, business plan, The East Anglian Courts Service must make £1million of savings before 2012 and reduce their energy costs by £80,000.

Editor Debbie Davies said: "The Ely Standard found out about the impending closure through leaked documents and decided we had a public duty as a community newspaper to share that information with our readers.

"We have campaigned for more transparency in this process from day one and hope that the Lord Chancellor sees fit to support members of a community that has seen depleted public services in recent years, despite phenomenal housing growth.

Closing such a beautiful building and such a vital service to the life of our city would send a strong message that Ely does not matter, compared to economic strongholds in the county such as Cambridge and Huntingdon. I would like to say thank you to our readers for supporting our Keep it Local campaign and I hope your signatures will send a strong message to the decision makers that services should be locally retained and any process to alter that should be made both transparently, and with due process."

Our campaign is supported by Ely City Council, Jim Paice MP, and East Cambridgeshire District Council.


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