Boston could soon be taking on more cases from around the area if Skegness Magistrates’ Court is closed.
The court, along with Grantham, has been earmarked as one of 14 in the Midlands said to be ‘underused’ in a report published by Courts Minister Shailesh Vara.
Following the announcement, Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill leapt to the defence of the courts saying they were ‘important to the community’ and ‘had a key role to play in the local justice system’.
However, Boston MP Matt Warman said there was a ‘balance to strike’ regarding how much the court was essential and how much it was used as well as making sure Boston’s court could handle the extra cases - especially as it already takes on Spalding cases following the closure of that court.
Regarding concerns that Boston Magistrates’ Court, could be ‘overloaded’, he said that was something he didn’t want to see and said the consultation would have to look at ‘managing the capacity we have got’.
“We have got to make sure that if this happens there are the facilities. We should think about where we are asking people to travel to and how much the building is used.
“On current form, it’s very difficult to say to the Ministry of Justice that it’s essential because we do have good travel links and limited use.”
According to Mr Warman, the utilisation at Skegness is at about 20 per cent, with 748 hours of usage compared to a capacity of 3,720 hours.
He said facilities are ‘no longer suitable for vulnerable victims and witnesses and there is no separate access to the courthouse’.
In comparison, he pointed out that, according to the latest inspection, Boston offers good quality facilities.
He also pointed out that there were no permanent staff employed at the Skegness courthouse.
A consultation is now under way until October 8.