Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Launceston Magistrates Court set for the chop

The Government has put out a consultation paper on the proposed closure of Launceston Magistrates Court in Dunheved Road. It looks like they have been learning from the Conservatives on Cornwall Council as the 'consultation' is so biased that there is only one possible answer.

There have been court sittings in Launceston stretching back to the middle ages. But the claim is that the court building is now not fit for purpose.

I agree that the current set up is not particularly tenable. The building is too small, there is no accommodation for prisoners, it is not accessible for people with disabilities and does not have the right rooms for witnesses.

But the Government has completely failed to consider the option of bringing it up to scratch. The only considerations given in the paper are to leaving it as it is or closing it. With the loss of the tax office, this is another example of the Government leaving Launceston high and dry.

Ironically, we have a new extension to Launceston Police Station to allow prisoners to be kept there but these prisoners will have to be driven to Bodmin to attend court. The new Bodmin police station, meanwhile, has no cells - so prisoners from the town will have to be transported to Launceston overnight before being sent back to Bodmin for court appearances.

In a sign of just how little the Government cares about our area, they have even managed to put out a consultation paper spelling Cornwall as 'Cornwell' five times - a paper signed off personally by the Minister as being accurate.

The paper goes on to say that there is adequate public transport between Launceston and Bodmin for anyone who needs access to the court and does not have a car. Local people know that this is a fallacy. So much for Jack Straw's promise that justice must be accessible for all.

It looks inevitable that the court will close. Make no mistake that this is a Labour Government that has given up on Cornwall.

1 comment:

PW2 said...

As you say, it is a terrible shame especially considering the history of Launceston which was, up until 1835, the county town of Cornwall.

There is something a little insidious going on here in terms of the "southification" of Cornwall's administration. It's an obvious geographical point, but being long and thin with the county town right down at the southern end, the people of North Cornwall need to have services and functions in Launceston to keep the area alive and vibrant.

My mother was for many years on the Diocesan synod and travelled thousands of times from Bude down to Truro and back in a day. THe journey was a killer.

It really is ridiculous that more and more people are being forced to travel to Bodmin or Truro from North Cornwall for essential functions and services.

Quite simply, North Cornwall is being left out. The recent attempt to have a day's holiday for St Piran is actually another case in point. St Piran is not the undisputed "patron saint of Cornwall". Saint Petroc and Saint Michael also lay claim to that title. So it's a bit bloody daft having a day's holiday for a Saint who is not universally recognised as the Patron Saint of the county. What Saint Piran is, and this is undisputed, is the Patron Saint of Tin miners. Ah! So, not much tin mining was ever done in North Cornwall was it? More farming. Another example of the south of Cornwall taking over the whole bloody show (and that pet theory comes not from me, but my brother, a resident of Bude).