U-turn over plans to find new use for magistrates’ court

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Bicester Magistrates’ Court is to remain open due to an increasing workload, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has announced.

The court at Waverley House in Queen’s Avenue had been due to shut in April this year after its closure was announced back in December 2010.

In a statement, the HMCTS said: “Bicester Magistrates’ Court was due to close in April 2013.

“This closure was announced on 14 December 2010.

“Since this initial announcement HM Courts & Tribunals Service has conducted further analysis into changes in workload in Oxfordshire and Thames Valley as a whole.

“HM Courts & Tribunals Service has considered the available options and concluded that the best solution, especially for family cases in Oxfordshire, is to retain Bicester Magistrates’ Court.

“HMCTS continues to keep the use of its estate under review to ensure it meets operational requirements and it is important that we respond to both increases and decreases in workload.”

Magistrates have dispensed justice from Waverley House since 1957, and the building has more recently served as a satellite court handling specialist traffic cases and other prosecutions.

Plans for the building had included conversion into an administrative centre.

In 2010, officials said the building was, “... not a good use of resources or facilities for HMCS or other criminal justice partners” in consultation documents on services in Herts, Beds and Thames Valley.

Costs for running Bicester Magistrates’ Court were just under £85,700 in 2009.