- Created on Friday, 25 September 2015 09:16
Unedited press release from Derbyshire County Council
Closing Buxton Magistrates’ and County Court will lead to High Peak residents not having the same access to justice as residents in other parts of the country, according to a report agreed by councillors at Derbyshire County Council. The council’s Resources Improvement and Scrutiny Committee was asked to look at proposals by HM Courts and Tribunal Service to close the court in Buxton and move services to Chesterfield Court. The committee found that with no direct bus or train service to Chesterfield from the main towns in the High Peak journey times would be difficult and long. And the committee felt that the closure of the Courts in Buxton could lead to a significant number of witness statements being retracted if domestic violence victims are expected to travel to Chesterfield.
Councillor Kath Lauro, Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Committee said: “We are very concerned about these proposals and would ask the Courts Service to think again.
“It is very difficult and time consuming to get to Chesterfield on public transport. From parts of the High Peak the journey can take two hours or more. With car ownership low in some parts of the area using public transport would be the only option.
“We understand that every part of the public sector has to make budget cuts so we are asking the service to look to keep the Stockport Court. It is much easier for people to get to Stockport from the High Peak, and cases might be able to be transferred from Buxton to Stockport. But this court is also at threat of closure.”
The Courts Services estimates found that 73% of one-way journeys from the High Peak to Chesterfield by public transport will take more than two hours. This is in contrast to 2% of journeys to Buxton Court that would take the same amount of time.
Where currently 73% of car journeys to Buxton Court take less than 30 minutes only 3% of car journeys to Chesterfield Court will be completed in the same time. Car ownership in some district wards in High Peak is very low. In Gamesley 45.5% of households do not have access to a car and there are five other district wards where a third of households do not have access to a vehicle. This means that for many people their only option will be to travel by public transport. As there are no direct train or bus routes (to Chesterfield from the main towns in High Peak) this would involve one, two or even three changes. From Buxton, Chapel-le-Frith and Glossop the train journey takes two hours or more. With services generally operating on an hourly basis a return trip could take up a large part of the day.
The council will now send their formal response to the proposals to the Courts Service.