Concerns over proposals to close courts

Fareham Magistrates' Court is facing closure
Fareham Magistrates' Court is facing closure
An aerial view of Portsmouth Harbour.   Picture: Shaun Roster PPP-170908-102625001

Waterlooville sailor fined for speeding in Portsmouth Harbour

  • Government says money needs to be saved by closing under-used courts
  • Consultation has begun on whether to close Fareham Magistrates Court and pass work to Portsmouth
  • Chichester magistrates and crown courts could also go
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COURTS in Fareham and Chichester could be shut under government plans to save money.

The Ministry of Justice has begun a 12-week public consultation which could see Fareham Magistrates’ Court, Chichester Combined Court – which hears crown and county cases – and Chichester Magistrates’ Court, close.

These proposals are bad news for my constituents, who would have to travel long distances on very congested roads to get to court.

Andrew Tyrie

Fareham court tries both adults and youths.

A spokeswoman for the MoJ said Fareham cases would be passed to Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court – which is already very busy.

Many Chichester magistrates cases are already being sent to Worthing.

Tim Sparkes, of solicitors Rowe Sparkes, which has branches in Havant and Southsea, said: ‘While there may well be room at Portsmouth to soak up the additional work, it will mean a disconnect between local people and local justice and mean some people will have to travel a lot further for court appearances.

‘There will be issues about youths appearing at the 
Portsmouth courts where the facilities are outdated and not set up to deal with vulnerable defendants.

‘The logistics may cause real issues for keeping them separate from the adult defendants.’

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie said: ‘These proposals are bad news for my constituents, who would have to travel long distances on congested roads to get to court.

‘I hope that the government can be persuaded to reconsider.

‘What’s more, the case for these closures has not been made in 
the documentation released today.

‘Nowhere has a sound financial case been provided.’

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes did not respond to The News.

The consultation ends on October 8.

To take part go to bit.ly/1OglDUx.