Last Stand To Save Ely Magistrate's Court
WE are all appalled by the decision to close Ely Magistrates Court, – that s the message from councillors who are supporting the Ely Standard s campaign to save the historic building from closure. As a local authority we are constantly told to try an
WE are all appalled by the decision to close Ely Magistrates' Court," -
that's the message from councillors who are supporting the Ely Standard's campaign to save the historic building from closure.
"As a local authority we are constantly told to try and create sustainable local communities by national government," said council leader Fred Brown. "Closing the door makes a mockery of this demand. We have real concerns about how the decision will impact on local policing especially if officers are required to escort some defendants to court."
Cllr Brown said he would be writing to Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS) area director, Pauline Cornford, to "demand to know her organisation's plans for a building which has served our community for well over a century and should be allowed to for many years to come."
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MP Jim Paice has also come on board. He told the Ely Standard: "The loss of our magistrates' court is another blow to local services. Its reduced use over the last few years is a direct result of the Government's constant removal of magistrates' discretion by encouraging the use of cautions and fixed penalty notices for offences which deserve far more serious sentences. Now that such a notable building is closed it is essential that it is properly maintained, either for future use as a courthouse or made available for other uses. Just standing empty is an expensive monument to the centralised control which has done so much damage to our society."
The Ely Standard has received hundreds of extra signatures to our Save Ely Magistrates' Court online petition in the past few weeks from all over the country - and grassroots support is just as important as local authority figures.
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nRegister your support for the campaign by signing our petition at www.elystandard24.co.uk and click on Keep it Local. The petition will be presented to HMCS staff on the last sitting day of the court, March 26 where we are encouraging our readers to come and fill the public gallery. If you don't have access to the internet, a hard copy of the petition is available to sign in our reception at 38 Market Street, Ely.