Leader sets up Online Petition against Magistrates Closure

August 4, 2010 12:00 AM

Leader of Rochdale Council, Councillor Irene Davidson, has set up an online petition via the Council's website in a bid to highlight the proposed closure of Rochdale Magistrates Court.

It comes after the court was named as one of 103 facing possible closure nationwide. The Ministry of Justice say that the workload of magistrates and county courts has decreased since the creation of Her Majesty's Court Service in 2005, meaning many courthouses are significantly underutilised.

The planned closures are designed to increase the utilisation of courts by moving work to courts with better facilities and saving money by disposing surplus buildings.

Councillor Irene Davidson's petition is part of the Council's strong response to retain the court in Rochdale Town centre.

Councillor Davidson said: "It's important that this Council does all it can to keep our court open and to do this, we have to put a strong case forward to the Secretary of State for Justice. The public need to have their say which is why I have set up the online petition.

"It's essential to have local justice. We can't expect victims of crime to have to travel to seek justice. The closure would also seriously hit our local economy with job losses and a loss of local income from visitors.

"If you have internet access please find the time to sign our petition. We are also looking into setting up a stall in the town centre to gather even more support."

If you wish to sign the e-petition please visit http://democracy.rochdale.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=12&RPID=249360

You can also fill in an online questionnaire about the proposed closure at http://www.rochdale.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/council_news/latest_news/july_2010/public_to_have_say_on_town%E2%80%99s_c.aspx