High Peak MP slams document on proposed closure of Buxton Magistrate’s Court

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

The MP for High Peak has slammed a document into the proposed closure of Buxton’s magistrates’ court, branding it a ‘lazy piece of work’.

The town’s court on Terrace Road has been earmarked for closure as part of plans to shut 91 courts across the country.

Speaking in Parliament, Andrew Bingham MP said the consultation document was poorly written and riddled with errors.

He said: “It contains basic mistakes regarding High Peak Magistrates’ Court in Buxton. For example, it claims that it has no public lift, when in fact it has one.”

Mr Bingham feels that the document contains so many mistakes that it could be subject to a legal challenge if it goes through.

Other inaccuracies include stating that the court has two consultation rooms that are in a poor condition.

There are in fact three rooms, and they were refurbished in 2010.

The document also claims that there is one waiting room available which prevents the ‘desired segregation’ of parties.

He said: “Yet again, that is wrong. In 2010 the waiting areas were reorganised so now there is a separate entrance and room in the courthouse for witnesses, and the “desired segregation’.

“The consultation talks about travel times from Buxton to Chesterfield.

“It completely ignores the fact that the court serves not just Buxton but the whole of the High Peak, including Glossop, which has a larger population than Buxton.

“Getting to Chesterfield from Glossop is just not practical by public transport.”

He added it would also be inconvenient for police officers and council officers.

The magistrates’ court in Buxton also features the local county court.

Documentation issued as part of the consultation states that the courts that have been earmarked for closure are either unused or underused.

It adds that even after the closures, should they go ahead, over 95 per cent of people should be able to reach their required court within an hour.

Mr Bingham added: “If we have to travel, he (the Justice Minister) should make it realistic and do-able, but I urge him to find a way to preserve a court in High Peak, as that makes sense.

“If this consultation document had been properly researched and presented, it would have lent one to that conclusion.

“Instead, it is a biased, inaccurate and lazy piece of work.”