Cirencester court back in session this month
By Rob Freeman | 6th January 2021
Cirencester's former magistrates court will hear its first cases in nine years later this month after being taken out of mothballs for use as an emergency Nightingale Court.
Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who initially offered the use of the building in April to ease the backlog of cases caused by the coronavirus pandemic, confirmed the court will begin hearing criminal cases on January 25.
He tweeted: "Well done to all those who made it happen."
The building, which houses two courtrooms, is owned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Mr Surl's original offer to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service was not taken up.
But work on the building, which is next to the town's police station, has brought it up to standard for hearing criminal cases again.
The courthouse operated as a magistrates court for many years before being used one week a month as a third courtroom for Gloucester Crown Court.
It fell into disuse when that ended in 2012 and the building was acquired by the Commissioner.
It will become one of eight Nightingale courts across the country designed to tackle the backlog of cases with the waiting list for cases in Gloucestershire doubling during the pandemic.
Mr Surl, who spoke to Punchline-Gloucester.com in a video interview about the court last month, said: "Be in no doubt, coronavirus has brought our only remaining courts to their knees.
"The magistrates court in Cheltenham has been unable to function fully and without the first rung in the justice ladder, little can go to the crown court."
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