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Court Estates Reform

Volume 585: debated on Tuesday 9 September 2014

The court estate reform programme has been important in improving efficiency through the closure of poor quality and underused court buildings. Through the programme, 140 courts have closed and these closures are expected to generate estimated savings of £152 million. The last court in the programme, Alton magistrates court, closed last week on 5 September 2014.

The Minister will know that our courts in Gloucester are barely fit for purpose. Land was bought for new courts by the previous Government, but they diverted the funds elsewhere. Will he confirm that the site will be marketed as soon as possible to help city regeneration, that the successful bidder for HMP Gloucester will be announced soon and that a new justice centre in the city centre will be considered positively for all courts and tribunals once the justice review is finished?

First, may I commend my hon. Friend for the diligence and conscientiousness with which he has pursued the interests of his constituents? I fully appreciate the circumstances of the courts in Gloucester and am mindful of the prison’s closure and the position of the car park. As I have said, a court reform programme was announced in March and any decisions will be taken as part of that programme.