Predictably the Government has ignored its own consultation exercise and decided to go ahead with the closure of Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court – despite the fact that over 90% of respondents were against the closure.
There are no operational reasons for closing this modern, accessible and well used court. It is simply a land grab by the Ministry of Justice to make a profit by selling off the site. This is extremely short sighted as the consequences for access to justice will, in the long term, be costly both in human and financial terms.
The alternative courts suggested at Westminster, Highbury and Hendon are themselves busy following a closure programme earlier last year and, in any event, are long distances away. The claim that Hendon is less than an hour’s travel from Hammersmith implies that people will be using time machines to get there.
Coming on top of the proposed closure of the job centre, post office and police stations in the Hammersmith & Fulham, this represents a major disinvestment in public services. I am deeply disappointed but not surprised by this latest attack on essential facilities in the borough.