Elected members of Cherwell District Council (CDC) put political differences aside to unite in opposing the proposed closure of Banburuy Magistrates Court.
During a full council meeting on Tuesday, October 30, CDC voted unanimously for a motion stating: “This council deplores the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) decision to close the Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court”.
Cllr Kieron Mallon proposed the motion which was seconded by council leader Cllr Barry Wood, who will now be writing to the MOJ to flag a range of concerns.
Echoing Cherwell’s response to a Government consultation earlier this year, the motion says “the present proposals will hit the poorest especially hard”, because of the need to fund trips to Oxford.
In moving the motion, Cllr Mallon said: “On top of the downgrading of services at the Horton General Hospital, Cherwell residents are now looking at another service they will need to travel to Oxford for.
He added: “It will cost them time and money to get to a city where parking and congestion are already big issues.”
Seconder Cllr Wood said: “People who are the victims of crime deserve to see justice done in their own area.
“It’s a long-established principle and one I will be advocating in my letter to the Ministry.
“People will have to travel further to attend court, whether they are defendants, witnesses or victims.
“The risks of non-attendance and further congestion stemming from the closure of Banbury Magistrates’ Court will only add to the delays in seeing justice done.
He added: “The council frequently has cases heard at Banbury Magistrates’ Court, but the prospect of further hold-ups and sending officers to Oxford will only increase the expense to the taxpayer.”
In an impact statement published in response to its consultation, the Government acknowledged that: ‘the need to travel further (either by car or by public transport) is likely to have greater impacts on people with disabilities, the elderly and pregnant women.’
Similar motions protesting against the closure of Banbury Magistrates’ Court have also been passed by Banbury Town Council and Oxfordshire County Council.
For more on this story read: Dismay as government announces Banbury Magistrates’ Court will close.