STAFF at Solihull Magistrates are due to move to Birmingham under new proposals, sparking fears about the future of the court.
A court source says Solihull will be reduced to a ‘satellite’ or ‘overflow’ court for Birmingham Magistrates if plans to relocate admin staff go ahead.
Court chiefs have denied that the changes are a first step towards the eventual closure of the busy justice centre, in Homer Road, claiming it will make the best use of resources.
However, our source said staff were concerned about the implications. They added that many felt they had not been consulted on the proposals ‘whatsoever’.
Another employee, who would not be named, said the reason for moving admin staff to Birmingham was to ‘sustain support for the court.’
“After the last restructure, both courts are operating quite lean,” they added.
Solihull MP Lorely Burt said she would be keeping a close eye on the situation.
“I would be very much opposed to Solihull’s magistrates closing, I believe people should have access to local justice,” she said.
“It’s difficult to comment on exactly why they have done this, but it sounds to me like a cost-saving exercise.”
A Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, HMCTS, spokesman said: “The consultation is ongoing and it is proposed that any changes take place in a staged way, with the listing function being centralised initially.
“The proposal... aims to ensure that the use of consistent operating practices across the area will make best use of judicial time and administrative staff whilst making best use of the courtroom estate.”
They added that the courts service remained ‘committed to avoiding redundancies wherever possible’ but did not rule out voluntary redundances.