£5m justice centre will put Shrewsbury back on map - Shropshire council leader
Shrewsbury's new £5 million Justice Centre will help to put the town back on the legal map, the leader of Shropshire Council has said.
Councillor Peter Nutting said many stages of the legal process had left the town over the years, and that the improved centre would turn it around.
His comments came after the official opening of the centre on Friday.
Crown Court and social security cases will be heard at the town’s former Magistrates’ Court, which has been completely refurbished since its closure in 2016.
The investment has seen two crown court rooms and an adaptable tribunal hearing room to be built as well as a full refurbishment of communal and office space and improved security features throughout the building.
Councillor Nutting said: "They have done an excellent job – it really is a very modern building.
"It will set Shropshire up on the justice side for 30 or 40 years. It's good because we've been losing legal things out of the county and this is a marker in the sand to say Shrewsbury is still important in the legal profession.
"There have been issues with remand prisoners having to go to Kidderminster, and the Magistrates and County Court tend to be held in Telford rather than Shrewsbury. We have been losing some of the courts and it is good that this is bringing something back."
Lady Justice Julia Macur performed the official opening.
She said: "Throughout this project there has been attention to detail, and I'm glad to see there are now bigger and brighter office spaces for the staff, improved facilities for jurors, there's disabled lift access and the witness suite is much better.
"I came to see the work in progress and I was amazed by what had happened. I used to practice in the Shirehall, and I know the difference that a good building makes. This is a good building."
The investment is part of an ambitious £1 billion reform programme, designed to bring new technology and modern ways of working to the justice system. This is in addition to £15 million announced by the Chancellor last year to improve court buildings in England and Wales.
The Reform Programme is already benefitting people up and down the country with more than 150,000 using HMCTS’ online justice services in 2018.