A COURT is set to close its doors to the public for the final time in just four weeks.
The News can reveal that Fareham Magistrates Court will have its final sittings on Friday September 30 before closing down.
To lose that facility is disappointing and my forecast for the future is that it will lead to further delays in the Portsmouth courtKate Watts, criminal solicitor
Senior criminal solicitor Kate Watts confirmed the closure, expressing her disappointment at the loss of a court as she fears it will lead to more delays for trials and hearings at Portsmouth Magistrates Court.
She said: ‘I think it is going to be quite tough on Portsmouth Magistrates Court as the court in Fareham has for so long, provided a real service to the people of the area.
‘To lose that facility is disappointing and my forecast for the future is that it will lead to further delays in the Portsmouth court.
Ms Watts also expressed her concern that young defendants would also have a tougher experience in the Portsmouth court as they will no longer be segregated from the adult defendants.
She added: ‘I do worry for the younger defendants as Fareham does such a good job of keeping them separated.’
The court is set to be one of 86 to close around England and Wales with Chichester Magistrates Court also set to shut on the same date.
HM Courts and Tribunal Service said all will shut within the next two years.
A consultation launched last year found that Fareham’s court had no staff based permanently on the site.
The court was used at approximately 43 percent of its capacity during 2014/15.
It was constructed in 1994 and Cllr Sean Woodward - leader of Fareham Borough Council said he’s gutted to lose the building’s services but said the design of the building was ‘revolting.’
He added: ‘It is awful to lose such a valuable service to the area.
‘However, the building is revolting and I will be glad to see the back of it.’