South East Wales

Pontypridd Magistrates' Court faces final day

Pontypridd Magistrates' Court

Pontypridd Magistrates' Court will become the latest in Wales to close later as part of UK justice reforms.

The Ministry of Justice announced in February that 10 law centres in Wales would shut - including Pontypridd.

It leaves Rhondda Cynon Taff without a magistrates' court, after Llwynypia and Aberdare courts shut in 2010.

The Ministry of Justice said the decision to close a court was "never taken lightly".

The court's final day is on Friday, with new cases transferred to Merthyr Tydfil, 14 miles away.

"Maintaining underused and dilapidated court buildings is simply unsustainable and costs the taxpayer £500m a year," said a UK government spokesperson.

Justice officials have also insisted £700m is being invested across Wales and England to "reform and digitise our courts and tribunal services to deliver swifter and more certain justice".

Increased travel

But Rhondda AM and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood described the closure as "a sad day, not just for Pontypridd but for the whole of Rhondda Cynon Taff".

"It is hard to believe that the whole of Rhondda Cynon Taff is being left without a single magistrates' court," she said.

"We have more than 230,000 people living in the county borough yet anyone involved in a hearing at a magistrates' court, for whatever reason, in future will have to travel much further."

The closure of Pontypridd follows Carmarthen Guildhall in May, with cases transferred to Llanelli Magistrates' Court and Swansea Crown Court.

More closures are also expected in the coming months, with Bridgend Law Centre, Holyhead Magistrates' Court on Anglesey, and Dolgellau Magistrates' Court and Crown Court set to shut in September.

Prestatyn Magistrates Court in Denbighshire is also expected to close in November.

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