Spalding Magistrates’ Court was officially mothballed today (Thursday) and cases will now be heard in Boston and Grantham.
The last case in Court Room 1 came to an end at 3.32pm – ending around 160 years of local justice unless Her Majesty’s Courts Service does an unexpected U-turn.
Presiding magistrate Richard Spinks said: “That concludes the business for the day and the year and possibly the future.
“We could say this ends a chapter in the history of this court building and a new chapter is about to open up and we don’t know what that is.”
Probation officer Angela Jones asked Mr Spinks where Spalding’s cases would be heard.
Mr Spinks replied: “Scattered to the winds, my dear, Boston and Grantham. It seems most unfortunate that the management of the courts are working to a different agenda.”
He did not continue with his remarks about the fate of the court, telling court officials: “I have been gagged.”
Mr Spinks was chairman of the bench when the court was threatened with closure in 2010 and took a leading role in helping to save it from the Government axe.
But the decision to mothball it now came from the courts service – via the local justices’ issues group.
MP John Hayes said there was no desire by the Government to see it closed and the move was being steered by the courts’ service.
The South Holland and The Deepings MP fought long and hard this year to try to keep the court open and took the case to the Lord Chancellor.
Mr Hayes also took a leading role in the successful battle to keep the court in 2010.