Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle has hit out at the decision to shut the town’s magistrates court next month.

The MP received a letter last week announcing the news and he posted it on Twitter saying it would close on March 29.

He said: “Justice works best when it is delivered locally, defendants are more likely to attend, costs to the tax payer are reduced and local Magistrates can sit in judgement thinking of the community's needs and interests.

“I’ve been working with the Justice Minister and HM Courts Service over the last year since the government began its consultation exercise on the future of the court but I fear that this decision was always going to be the outcome.

“I urged the Minister to consider other options to keep the site open, including the creation of a regional Administration Hub in Chorley. These hubs will be essential for managing court administration as offices are closed.

“Today the Justice Minister explained today that court closures make business sense as 41% of courts operate at less than 50% capacity – but if you slash the number of Bobbies on the beat in Lancashire by 750+ and reduce funding by 20% as the government has done since 2010, then court use will obviously fall significantly.”

Chorley Council has slammed the finalising of the closure of Chorley Magistrates’ Court by HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

A decision was made last July to close the Court and move cases to Preston Magistrates’ Court, with staff left in limbo since over when the closure would take place.

The decision was finally announced last week that the Court will cease operations after Friday, 29 March, and hearings moved to Preston beginning Monday, 1 April.

Leader of Chorley Council Alistair Bradley said: “We strongly disagree with the decision to close Chorley Magistrates’ Court as we believe justice should still be served locally and not moved out of the borough.

“It’s of little relief that a final decision on the closure date has been announced, especially as it has taken more than six months for the date to be finalised and led to a lot of uncertainty for everyone involved with the court.

“After the closure we’ll take a keen interest in what happens with the site going forward as it’s an important site in the town centre.”

A Her Majesty Courts and Tribunal Service spokesperson said: “Chorley Magistrates Court will close on the 30 March. The closure of any court is not taken lightly and, where a service is moved outside the local area, this will only happen following a full public consultation.”