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Issue 317 – Frome loses out as magistrates court is axed

FROME magistrates court is due to close next year, after an announcement was made by Justice Minister Jonathan Djangoly.

The closure of Frome Magistrates Court now means that the nearest court is in Yeovil, a 64 mile round trip by car.
Mayor of Frome, Councillor Helen Sprawson-White said, “I am very disappointed that the Government appears to have decided that Frome Magistrates’ Court will close, despite recommendations from Frome Town Council to keep it open. The closure of public offices in Frome means the town will suffer and for witnesses to have to travel to Yeovil means that justice will suffer too.”
In a response to the consultation on the future of magistrates courts and county courts in England and Wales the Justice Minister said, “The Government have decided to close 93 magistrates courts and 49 county courts.
“It is estimated that those measures will save £41.5 million during the spending review period, excluding closure costs, and bring in £38.5 million in receipts from the sale of assets.
“It is unsustainable that in 2009-10, our 330 magistrates courts sat for less than two-thirds of their available time and that courtrooms in our 219 county courts sat on average for only 180 days a year. It is unacceptable that dozens of buildings never intended, and not fit, for the requirements of a modern court system are still being used.
“It is undesirable in the current financial position that the taxpayer continues to fund buildings that offer outdated and inadequate facilities to victims and witnesses.”

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