The Sessions House in Spalding’s Sheepmarket is a magnificent historic building now threatened to become another empty public building for which there is no obvious alternative use. If it closes, as seems likely, it will be a scandal. It will be brought about by the monumental bureaucratic ineptitude of one sector of public administration (the Justices Issues Group) acting correctly along its own tramlines but with no joined up thought as to the wider responsibility to maintain this part of our local heritage.
There are things that the public has a right to know. Whose responsibility is this 170-year old building; who owns it? How much did it cost to run before various categories of court cases were diverted elsewhere?
Which department of the County Council has been footing the bill and does it have any national funding? What sort of major repairs are likely in the next ten years? Will the G4 firm who provide some of the logistics gain from this closure?
Furthermore, if the court closes, what will be the total cost paid by lawyers, police, litigants, the accused and their families for travelling by private car, taxi and police van to the courts at Boston (16 miles), Grantham (30 miles) and Lincoln (43 miles). Apart from environmental damage, the cost of this extra travelling could well exceed the cost of keeping our court open. In fairness, any such cost to individuals should be deducted from the amount of any fines imposed. That would mean a loss of revenue!
Moreover, if justice is not carried out, reported and seen to be dispensed locally, this in turn is going to undermine any confidence we have as a community that law end order is being upheld. Would a public protest meeting be of any use, and would it be properly supported I wonder?
REV DAVID HILL