Those using courts in and near Blackpool are set to benefit from bolstered capacity and easier access to services, the government announced today (21 May 2024).

  • additional courtrooms, reopening of cells and new Tribunal location to benefit local community
  • more cases will be heard locally with fewer residents having to travel
  • government continues to boost investment and recruit judges so more victims can get justice

In a move to make more court services accessible for the community and have more hearings locally, the Government has confirmed it will create 2 new courtrooms at Fleetwood Nightingale Court.

This will mean more cases can be heard within the town and people will have less distance to travel. Currently, cases are being heard at Lancaster and Preston – a 30 to 45-minute drive away.

Today’s news follows the reopening of cells at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court, which will mean custodial cases – where a defendant is coming to court from a police station or prison custody – will resume being heard there.

Currently, these cases can only be listed at Blackburn and while cells were closed at Lancaster, only cases where the defendant was on bail could be heard.

Together, the measures will ease capacity across the region, meaning more cases can be heard which will help ease the backlog locally and ensure the community can access services closer to home.

Justice Minister, Mike Freer, said:

These plans will bolster court capacity locally, meaning more cases can be listed and the community can access vital services closer to their home.

And we aren’t finished yet – we are investing in a multimillion-pound project in the heart of Blackpool so the local community will have a new, state-of-the-art building fit for the future.

In addition, Blackpool Tribunals is moving to a new home on Market Street in the town centre. Keeping a tribunal hearing room just around the corner from the old building minimises disruption and will mean these services are maintained locally to help some of the most vulnerable users in Blackpool.

Plans are also progressing to construct the new £40 million courthouse which will provide the community with a modern, state-of-the-art court building fit for the future from 2026.

More widely, the move comes as the country’s courts are running at full throttle with more hearings taking place each month to tackle the outstanding caseload.

The government is also boosting investment, recruiting hundreds of judges across all courts and tribunals – including those hearing asylum cases – enabling the use of remote hearings and extending Nightingale Courts. This means more victims are getting the justice they deserve and more offenders are having to pay for their crimes.

Note to editors

Having considered value for money to the taxpayer, the decision was taken to close the existing Blackpool Magistrates’ and County Court buildings permanently when Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) was found to have deteriorated. In the meantime, all hearings have moved to other court buildings in Lancashire to minimise disruption – supported by the recent re-opening of Preston Magistrates’ Court and the expansion of Lancaster Magistrates’.

Published 21 May 2024