Concerns that court faces axe

FEARS have been raised that business on Arbroath High Street may suffer if the town’s sheriff court was to close.

The Scottish Courts Service are due to publish a consultation document on September 21 and it is rumoured Arbroath Sheriff Court may be under threat.

Initially concerns were raised that Forfar Sheriff Court may be axed but that concern has now been raised for Arbroath.

And several High Street businesses, including legal firms are worried and have spoke out about their worries if the court was to close.

Ross Paton of Shield and Kyd believes the court is a necessity in the town.

He said: “I would certainly not be in favour of the Arbroath Court closing. It provides a very good local facility for everything, not just the criminal but the civil and I think it would be dreadful for it to close.”

And Leigh Sievwright of Boyles Solicitors also said that the court is too busy to close.

She said: “Personally I don’t think the court should be closed as it’s a busy court for the surrounding area, it covers Montrose all the way up to about Monifieth. Plus, a lot of jobs will be lost. Arbroath court is a busy little court and has been for years.”

And Pamela Stuart of the Reptile Shop on the High Street added: “I don’t think the court should close as enough things are closing in Arbroath.

“The town is going to be empty soon.”

However some believe the sheriff court closing could boost business.

Another High Street, businesswoman commented: “I think the closing of Arbroath court would be beneficial to the town centre.

“It would add to the regeneration and reduce loitering on the streets and will overall give tourists a good impression of the town as there would not be Reliance vans parked on our main high street, which is very detrimental to business.

“It will also be beneficial to elderly people and children who feel threatened going up and down the High Street when the court proceedings are on.”

Councillor Donald Morrison stressed that no decision had yet been made on either Arbroath or Forfar Sheriff Courts.

He said: “As far as I’m concerned we have to wait until the consultation is published.

“There are a lot of local businesses such as legal firms in that area and there has also been an outcry over people hanging about outside the court so there needs to be a balance.”