Closure could bring new business

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THE SCOTTISH Courts Service say there is evidence proposed court closures which could affect Arbroath may actually boost economic activity.

In September the SCS revealed that Arbroath Sheriff Court was one of 11 courts across Scotland that could be facing the axe.

This would mean all court business, which also serves Carnoustie, Monifieth and Montrose would move to Forfar.

And last Friday a consultation on the proposed closure ended with the SCS now considering the responses.

In last week’s Herald, the Federation of Small Businesses spoke out about the Arbroath Sheriff Court closure, saying it could have serious consequences for local businesses.

However, the SCS has stressed these have been taken into account when coming up with the proposals.

A spokesman said: “In our consultation report we recognise that there is the potential for economic impact in some communities where courts might close but we are also able to evidence that  where surplus facilities have been released in the past, new economic activities have emerged.

“Those courts proposed for closure have been identified due to their low volumes of court business and their proximity to other court buildings which should reduce the impact their closure could be expected to have on the area.

“The purpose of the current consultation into the future structure of the Scottish Court Service was to allow all those with an interest in the proposals to contribute their views and interests and we welcome this contribution from the Federation of Small Businesses.”

The proposal to close the town court produced a mixed response from local people with some worried it could have a detrimental impact on High Street business, especially given the concentration of legal offices in the vicinity.

However, other people have welcomed the plans saying it would mean an end to people gathering outside the building next to the town centre post office.

Once the SCS have considered the responses to their consultation, a decision will be made on whether to press ahead with closure.

However, it will ultimately be up to the Scottish Parliament to decide if they go ahead.

It is thought any decision would go before the Parliament at Easter time.