Plans for a new Justice Quarter in the centre of Milton Keynes look set to be shelved for 12-18 months.

Milton Keynes Council’s delegated decisions committee meeting on Tuesday, January 25 will be asked to approve an officers’ report to delay further work on the project due to ongoing reform of the HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and impacts of Covid-19.

The council has ambitious plans for the new quarter which could include replacing the current magistrates and county courts, which are adjacent to one another, with a new development which will include crown, county and magistrates courts.

The council envisages a wide-ranging scheme which will also include offices for law firms and cafes and could involve redevelopment of the nearby police station. However, Thames Valley Police currently has no funding to be part of the scheme.

One option is to build the Justice Quarter out of the city centre but suitable sites are proving difficult to find.

A report to the meeting concludes: “Reflecting uncertainty in the future operation of court services and the ability for the various partners to progress with decisions about site redevelopment, it is prudent to pause significant work on the Justice Quarter project for 12-18 months to allow the situation to be better defined.

“In the meantime, the Justice Quarter project should remain as a medium to long-term ambition for the wider work continuing on the future of Central Milton Keynes and the existing working relationships with the project partners be maintained.”

Partners involved with the council on the project include the Ministry of Justice/local judiciary, HMCTS, Thames Valley Police and the Milton Keynes Development Partnership.

Image: Google.

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