Views sought on the proposed closure of Knutsford Crown Court

Knutsford Crown Court is under threat of permanent closure

Knutsford Crown Court is under threat of permanent closure

First published in News

KNUSTFORD’S iconic Sessions House could be set to close for good - and put on the market for more than £700,000.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service have decided to consult on the permanent closure of Knutsford Crown Court.

The Grade II listed building has not been used for any Crown Court hearings since May 2010, due to reduced workload across the Cheshire, and all Cheshire Crown Court matters are now heard at either Chester Crown Court or Warrington Combined Court.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service predict that, on the basis of workload forecasts, the court would not be needed in the future, and therefore the service could not justify the significant upgrade work it would need to carry out to bring the court back into commission.

According to the consultation document, a total of £300,000 would be required to bring the court back into commission. On the other hand, the closure of the two courtroom venue would save the department £50,000 a year.

Should the outcome of the consultation be a decision to close the court, it will be sold. An independent high-level report estimates the current market value of Knutsford Crown Court to be between £800,000 and £1,000,000.

However, the service, taking account of its own analysis, put the current valuation at approximately £720,000.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service suggested the site could be utilised as a potential improvement or redevelopment site if the closure and sale go ahead.

A HM Courts & Tribunals Service spokesperson said: “We are consulting locally on proposals to close Knutsford Crown Court.

“The building has not been used for any Crown Court matters since May 2010, due to reduced workload across the County of Cheshire. Since this date, all hearings have been dealt with at Chester Crown Court and Warrington Combined Court, which have better facilities for court users.

"To bring the court house back into commission would require additional maintenance costs of approximately £300,000.

“The consultation closes on 6 August 2014. All responses will be taken into consideration.”

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