A COURT building that was once falling into disuse and on the brink of being lost has been given a new lease of life.
The Havant Justice Centre, in Elmleigh Road, was officially opened on Friday by Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Ernest Ryder.
The centre will now play host to a range of hearings dealing with disputes on employment, social security, special educational needs, child maintenance, adoptions, war pensions and residential property.
Sir Ernest said: ‘It’s a superb job. It provides access to justice.
‘We’re in the middle of a reform programme and that is all about making it easier for people to get access to justice that they need.’
A number of teams have been involved in the renovation. It has been completely refurbished with the aim of making its range of visitors feel more comfortable.
Regional tribunal Judge Michael Tildesley said: ‘Each hearing room enables a flexible arrangement of sittings. We’re trying to encourage people to feel comfortable with their surroundings so that they can have the opportunity to state their case.’
The facilities include four hearing rooms, a medical room, mediation rooms, staff rooms, training, conference and judge accommodation and disability access.
Judge Siobhan McGrath, who was also at Friday’s opening, said: ‘When Michael and I first came to see this building it was neglected. But the work that’s been done has been fantastic and they’ve done a job that has made a very comfortable working space.’
Sir Ernest said: ‘A huge vote of thanks to all those that were involved in it.
‘There have been a number of teams, the judicial standing committee that have thought about how to use the building, and then the courts and tribunal service teams who have helped design and implement it.’
The facility is not just restricted to one type of court or tribunal.
The whole purpose of the project was to provide a facility where a range of tribunals and courts can sit.
Mr Tildesley said: ‘The beauty of Havant is that it has good road and rail connections so we can bring it people from a wide-ranging area without causing tremendous inconvenience.’