Bristol

Frome and Sedgemoor court consultation to end

A consultation on the possible closure of two magistrates' courts in Somerset is coming to an end.

Frome and Sedgemoor are under threat after the Ministry of Justice announced plans to close 103 courts across England and Wales.

Nationally, the closures could save the government £15m in running costs and £22m in building maintenance.

But magistrate Frank Clegg, chairman of the Sedgemoor bench, said locally it would cause financial problems.

If the Sedgemoor court in Bridgwater closed, it would mean cases being transferred to Taunton, about 11 miles away.

Travel costs

"In Sedgemoor there are 54 parishes, and only seven out of the 54 parishes can reach Taunton court house in under an hour by public transport," said Mr Clegg.

"Those that live in 25 of the parishes have no public transport to Taunton at all and in many cases travel costs would cause financial hardship."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The Lord Chancellor is keen to hear the views of everyone with an interest in local justice arrangements.

"We will take all views into account before making any decision on which courts ought to be closed and when."

The consultation ends on Tuesday.

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