Court decision soon – but it’s not looking good

Lawyers raised the alarm earlier this year about possible closure ' Mike Alexander, Julie Atkinson, Anita Toal and Daven Naghen. SG030513-118TW
Lawyers raised the alarm earlier this year about possible closure ' Mike Alexander, Julie Atkinson, Anita Toal and Daven Naghen. SG030513-118TW
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The death knell is sounding for Spalding Magistrates Court with bosses confirming they are reviewing listings, taking into account “changes in workloads”.

Most of the court’s sittings have been switched to Grantham this year – and the private prosecutions sitting will be lost at the end of October, leaving the court open only on Thursdays.

A leaking roof has put the court out of action for at least a month and cases will be heard at Grantham while repairs are carried out to a rain-soaked witness room, offices used by the Crown Prosecution and Probation services, and a ceiling collapse in a magistrates’ retiring room.

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said: “We are assessing the damage with a view to implementing repairs as soon as possible.”

On the court’s future, the spokesman said: “The judiciary, in conjunction with HMCTS and criminal justice partners, routinely reviews local listing arrangements, taking into account changes in workloads and to ensure the best use of resources.

“We are currently reviewing listing arrangements at Spalding Magistrates’ Court and a decision will be announced in due course.”

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes, lawyers and South Holland magistrates fought off a bid to close the Spalding court in 2010.

Mr Hayes says it appears now the pressure to close the court is coming from the courts service and magistrates from other parts of Lincolnshire.

He said: “If the pressure isn’t coming from Government – and the decision is being made elsewhere in Lincolnshire to close this court by stealth – then these people will be signing their own death warrants rather than having something imposed on them from above.”