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Courts Rebuilding Programme

Volume 585: debated on Tuesday 9 September 2014

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service continues to keep the use of its estate under review to ensure that it meets operational requirements.

Last November, I and my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland Central (Julie Elliott) met the Minister to press the case for the much-promised rebuilding of Sunderland’s court complex, but unfortunately, since then, nothing has happened. Will he now join us, visit Sunderland and see the state of the existing court buildings and the impact these new courts could have in the regeneration of the city centre?

The hon. Lady is right to refer to our meeting about this matter and will be aware that in March we announced a court reform programme to ensure that the courts and tribunals of this country met the expectations of the public in the 21st century. Any decisions about the site in Farringdon row in Sunderland will be taken in the context of that reform programme. Currently, no decisions have been taken about the site.

Unless the Ministry of Justice commits capital funding to Wrexham magistrates court, it will be in the peculiar position of having no custody facilities. Will the Minister commit capital funding to construct cells at the court?

As I just said, a reform programme has been announced. It will take a comprehensive view and all matters will be considered.