£500k spent on Abergavenny court facing axe

SWA/MIKE LEWIS 14 12 10 REPORTER BEN ABERGAVENNY MAGISTRATES COURT WHICH HAS BEEN SAVED FROM CLOSURE (7024587)

Peter Fox (5442338)

SWA MIKE LEWIS 19 2 13 REP[ORTER PICTURED AT THE SITE OF THE MONMOUTHSHIRE COUNCIL BUILDING, INNOVATION HOUSE, COUNCIL LEADER, PETER FOX. (3517190)

First published in Monmouthshire news

THE MP for Monmouth, David Davies, says he is disappointed over news that Abergavenny Magistrates Court could be closed to save costs.

Meanwhile, the Tory leader of Monmouthshire council, Councillor Peter Fox has suggested he is open to the possibility of magistrates courts being hosted in council buildings.

Both Abergavenny and Caerphilly magistrates courts are facing closure, with the Ministry of Justice saying both are in a poor state of repair.

That’s despite the Abergavenny court, which faced closure in 2010, being given a £500,000 refurbishment that year.

A consultation on the matter is running until July 21.

Mr Davies said he was going to ask the minister involved to ask for details of the costs and benefits of the proposals, “so I can go through them with a fine-tooth comb.”

Mr Davies said he understood “it would cost a lot of money to bring it (the Abergavenny court) up to standards required” and said it “would seem” the £500,000 spent in 2010 was money wasted.

The Argus asked if he would oppose the proposals: “Quite possibly. I want to see the costs and benefits first.”

Cllr Fox said: “Local people need local access to justice and making it more difficult for them to get to a court would be a backward step.

“I know that funds are tight, but there are better ways of dealing with that than simply closing things.

“I’d be very happy to talk to the Ministry of Justice about them holding magistrates courts in council buildings. These are better located for the people of Monmouthshire than Cwmbran or Newport .”

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