The Conservatives’ candidate for Strangford is supporting the campaign to save Newtownards Courthouse. Johnny Andrews said that “access to justice is important for everyone in Strangford and we must save the courthouse from closure”.
“Everyone in this community should be able to access a local court that is convenient to them”, Johnny explained. “Newtownards Courthouse serves people in Strangford well and it’s one of the busiest courts in Northern Ireland with a high volume of civil and criminal proceedings, including youth and family court sittings. If these services moved to Belfast, vulnerable people in our community would suffer. In addition, the consultation failed to find that closing the courthouse will result in savings or that the Laganside courts could absorb the extra workload, without expensive renovation work.”
“People in Strangford deserve local access to local justice. I don’t believe that proper consideration has been given to how moving services to Belfast will impact the community, neither do the plans clearly examine how easily the building could be sold. Closing the courthouse will cause serious inconvenience to people in Strangford, adding problems with travel, late arrivals, higher parking costs and subjecting court-users to an intimidating, unfamiliar environment. Meanwhile the consultation makes it clear that any benefits are by no means certain. That’s why I’m calling for Newtownards Courthouse to be saved.”