WALTHAM Forest Magistrates' Court has been saved from closure.

The Government announced on Tuesday that the court will not be among those closing in an attempt to save money and improve efficiency.

The future of the court had looked in doubt when the Government proposed closing it and moving casework to Stratford.

But the borough’s bench warned this would seriously undermine local faith in the judicial system and deter vulnerable witnesses from coming forward.

Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith, who lobbied the Justice Ministry to reconsider the proposal, said he was delighted with the news.

He added: "I am very pleased that the Ministry of Justice has decided to save Waltham Forest Magistrates' Court – I fought hard for this outcome.

"I absolutely understand the need for cuts in these difficult economic times but the closure of this court never made any sense and I am delighted that it has been saved.”

Leyton MP John Cryer and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, who both campaigned against the closure, also welcomed the news.

Mr Cryer said: "It's great news because if the court had gone it would have meant that the probation service would have been completely removed from Waltham Forest as well.

"It would also have led to enormous pressure on courts in Stratford and Bow, and it would have been far more difficult to manage cases with people having to travel an awful lot further."

Ms Creasy said: "I’m delighted that the campaign to save Waltham Forest Magistrates' Court has paid off.

"Closing the court would have had a terrible impact on the administration of justice in my constituency, so it’s great news that the minister has listened to the concerns of local residents and the Waltham Forest bench.”

Only nine other magistrates' courts have been saved from the axe in this afternoon's announcement.

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