More opposition to Rothesay court closure plan

BUTE Community Council is to write to the Scottish Courts Service in opposition to the proposed closure of Rothesay Sheriff Court.

BCC chair Grace Strong suggested that the community council should write to the SCS - which has not directly contacted BCC to consult on its proposal - to “vehemently oppose” the plan which, according to its proponents, will result in a saving of £6,000.

Mike Blair said that a £6,000 saving was “ridiculous”, and local Argyll and Bute councillor Len Scoullar made a point of saying that Rothesay Sheriff Court would have closed years ago had it not been for the efforts of Sheriff John Herald, who retired in April.

Opponents of the closure plan have received the support of Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor, who said: “In the current economic climate it is right that the SCS is looking at ways to make savings and to deliver services in a more cost effective way.

“However, a reduction in the number of courts should only be made if the overall capacity for processing criminal and civil cases is not adversely affected.

“In rural areas like Bute the presence of a local court can save time and money and provide an important way for victims of crime to access justice and avoid additional costs from having to travel great distances to other courts.”

The consultation period on the SCS proposals runs until December 21.