Cries of ‘Keep the law in Bassetlaw!’ rang out as protesters gathered today (Monday) in the hope of saving Worksop Magistrates’ Court.
A group of around 45 councillors and local residents, along with MP for Bassetlaw John Mann and Bassetlaw Council leader Simon Greaves, attended the protest in light of plans by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service to start a consultation into the use of the courthouse.
The six-week consultation proposes reducing the number and type of cases held in the Potter Street building, and proposes sending all youth, family, civil and criminal cases to Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
MP John Mann expressed his anger at the proposals. He said: “For 800 years we have had local justice administered in Bassetlaw- it’s a system that we gave to the democratic world.”
“This court is perfectly adequate for hearing cases and we want local justice to be administered by local people.”
Coun Simon Greaves, leader of Bassetlaw Council, backed Mann’s comments and said that closing the court would equal a ‘massive backward step’ for Bassetlaw.
Local shopkeeper George Nixon said that the closure of the court and its cells would put his business ‘at serious risk’.
He said: “I often get kids coming into the shop attempting to steal things, and I won’t feel my business is as safe if the court and its cells are lost.”
“Closing the court will take Worksop off the map and cause crime to rise- what’s next? They take away local policing from us too?”
Coun Simon Greaves added that although the council would do everything in their power to stop the proposals, the future looked bleak for Worksop Magistrates’ Court.