Updated: Saturday, 22nd September 2018 @ 5:47am

'Vitally important': Social media campaign launched to stop Stockport court closure

'Vitally important': Social media campaign launched to stop Stockport court closure

| By Catherine Murphy

A social media campaign has been launched to stop the closure of Stockport’s Magistrates and County Court from going ahead.

The ‘Save our Stockport Courthouse’ has begun both Facebook and Twitter campaigns arguing against the idea of the closure, a move proposed as part of a review by the Ministry of Justice.

A petition, which was started by Stockport’s Labour Group, has also been featured throughout the campaigns social media sites. Deputy Labour Leader, Walter Brett has been urging anyone who has concerns of their own to sign it before the close date of October 8.

Mr Brett said: “Any resident concerned about the future of Stockport’s court can sign the petition before the consultation closes on October 8

“Violent crime was up 40% in Greater Manchester last year and so it is the wrong time for these plans, if we want to guarantee public safety.”

The closure of the court could mean that cases from Stockport could now be heard at Manchester and Salford magistrates’ court and Manchester County Court based at the Civil Justice Centre.

According to the proposal, presented by the Ministry of Justice in the consultation on the provision of court and tribunal services in the North West region, they argue that the need to travel to court is being over shadowed by the desire for an online presence.

The proposal reads: “In an increasingly digital age, the public expect to be able to engage with any service through a variety of channels and many prefer to do that digitally.

“They do not always want or need to attend hearings in person. Delivering effective access to justice does not necessarily mean providing access to the buildings.”

The ‘Save our Stockport Courthouse’ Campaign also suggests ways to prevent the closing. Taken from their Twitter page, they have tweeted that Macclesfield Magistrates and County Court also faces closure and suggests bringing it to Stockport.

If the proposal goes ahead it could see 11 Magistrates’ and 14 County and Family Courts shut across the North West, including Oldham Magistrates and County court.  

Simon Morton, managing director of Morton Solicitors, explained to Stockport’s Labour Group how essential the courthouse is to local businesses.

He said: “Stockport is one of the most heavily used court buildings in Greater Manchester and it is vitally important for local businesses that it stays open.

“The government’s plans are very unlikely to save any money as there will be an increase in defendants not turning up for hearings and police time used to execute warrants which are issued to bring them to court.”

Anyone wishing to sign the petition, should visit www.stockportlabour.org.uk/stop-the-closure-of-stockport-magistrates-and-county-courts/

Image courtesy of Google StreetView, with thanks.