Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) welcomes the county council’s decision to ask the Government for more funding for local courts.
At a council meeting on Wednesday (15 May), councillors unanimously agreed to lobby the Ministry of Justice for investment to either build a new justice centre or bring the existing facilities up to scratch.
PCC Martin Surl says, “I have made my feelings known for some time that our two remaining court buildings are no longer fit for purpose.
“I welcome any pressure the county council can bring to bear because if we don’t have a plan there is a real danger we will find local justice being dispensed out of the county”.
Gloucestershire’s PCC first raised the issue with Justice Secretary David Gauke last July and has been in touch on a number of occasions since. After the Ministry of Justice appeared sympathetic, the PCC’s office worked with architects and planners to produce a feasibility study of what a new justice centre could look like and how it could operate.
Mr. Surl says, “Gloucester Crown Court is a Grade II listed building and no longer fit for administering justice in the 21st century. A new courthouse has been on the agenda for a number of years but a number of potential locations that were suggested are no longer available.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I own land on the Waterwells Business Park that is a viable option.
“Not only is it available, it would it save taxpayers money as they wouldn’t have to pay for it; it has good transport links close to the M5 and Waterwells park and ride and it’s next to the county’s main custody facility which would also cut costs.
“Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has worked hard to get it off the ground but has been frustrated. I hope the county council’s intervention will help us achieve a positive outcome because we cannot allow Gloucestershire to slip off the judicial map”.