MP secures Commons debate on Buxton court closure plans

High Peak Magistrates' Court.
High Peak Magistrates' Court.

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham has secured a debate in Parliament about the proposed closure of Buxton’s court.

The Government is considering shutting High Peak Magistrates’ Court, on Terrace Road, as part of controversial cost-cutting measures.

If approved, the plans will see hearings move to Chesterfield and those needing to attend court facing a journey of almost an hour by car and two hours or more by public transport.

Andrew Bingham – who has already criticised the proposals in the House of Commons – will hold a debate next Tuesday.

At the end of the discussion, a Government minister will have to respond.

Mr Bingham said: “I’m delighted to get another chance to tell the minister what a shoddy piece of work the consultation document is and outline once again the many errors and mistakes that have been included in it.

“The document is, at best, extremely inaccurate, and at worst, downright misleading.

“I also look forward to putting the case for retaining the court and outlining how reliant we are in the High Peak – being relatively rural – on it, especially given the weather we get in winter months,” he added.

Magistrates, union leaders, Derbyshire County Council and the area’s police commissioner have also expressed concerns over the closure plans.

The Law Society said the proposed closure of High Peak Magistrates’ Court would only deepen inequalities in the justice system and that its members had highlighted inaccuracies in the Government’s consultation document.

Jonathan Smithers, president of The Law Society, added: “The planned closure will make it more difficult for a significant number of people to get to court – any closures will more adversely affect people with disabilities and lower income families.

“Combined with the further planned increases in court fees and reductions in eligibility for legal aid, this proposed closure will serve to deepen the inequalities in the justice system between those who can and cannot afford to pay.

“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, everyone in England and Wales must be able to access legal advice and the justice system,” he added.

In total, the Government is considering closing 91 courts deemed unused or under-used.

The Government says no final decisions have yet been made.