Decision due on court

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A CONSULTATION period ends today (Friday) on the closure threatened Arbroath Sheriff Court.

In September, the Scottish Court Service (SCS) revealed 11 courts across the country were to be axed including the facility in Arbroath, which also serves Carnoustie, Monifieth and Montrose.

A formal consultation on the proposal was launched and anybody wishing to respond has until today at noon to reply.

It is proposed that if the doors of the town’s Sheriff Court do close for good, all cases would transfer to the Forfar facility, as would all staff.

As reported in September, the closure proposal received a mixed response, with some local people arguing the High Street would become safer due to the lack of prison transportation vans.

Others added it would stop court users from gathering outside the court, which is also next door to the town centre post office.

However, others believe the axe falling on the court would be a death knell for local businesses in the High Street, and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is warning the closure could have serious consequences.

Graham Bradley, chair of the Dundee and Angus branch of the FSB, said: “The health of local economies and communities are intrinsically linked. As the FSB has argued for years, strong, vibrant town centres need a strong mix of retailers and other businesses and both public and private employers.

“We know that removing important local employers in towns can damage their long term prospects.

“Closing Arbroath Sheriff Court will hit footfall and see the loss of well-paid public sector workers’ spending power on the High Street and Arbroath in general.

“The FSB is currently contributing to the Scottish Government’s National Review of Town Centres. It seems odd that this court decision is going to be made before this group will have time to report.”

The SCS say they will consider all responses to the consultation before making a final decision on any closures.