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Blackfriars Crown Court: Government confirms closure

SE1 will lose one of its three crown courts after the Ministry of Justice confirmed plans to close Blackfriars Crown Court in Pocock Street with the aim of gaining "significant sales receipts" from selling the building.

Blackfriars Crown Court

When the Pocock Street court closes, its workload will be transferred to Snaresbrook Crown Court, Wood Green Crown Court, Inner London Crown Court and Kingston Crown Court.

The Government said it received 51 responses to its consultation on the future of Blackfriars Crown Court. Out of these 11 were in support, 35 were opposed and 5 were neutral.

"The sale of Blackfriars Crown Court will release funding for reinvestment in the HM Courts & Tribunals Service Reform Programme," said the Ministry of Justice in its response to the consultation published this week.

"This money will be reinvested in improving the delivery of court services to users.

"This closure will also contribute to reducing the overall running cost of our estate and operating more efficiently. Closing this court, consolidating the estate and reinvesting the receipts will represent improved value for money for the taxpayer and help us improve facilities for court users."

The document adds: "In the coming months, consultation with the departmental trade union on staffing impacts will take place. We will work with the judiciary on implementation plans and will involve and communicate with court users. Further updates will be provided online alongside this document in due course.

"There are a number of factors to consider before Blackfriars Crown Court can close. We will work closely with the judiciary in order to make the listing changes at each court."

In 2007 the Blackfriars Crown Court site was valued at 32 million on the Government's National Asset Register.

In its response to the consultation, Southwark Council said that it would "strongly welcome opportunities to explore how the building could be made available for future affordable housing".

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