WHILE the number of magistrates’ courts in North Yorkshire has dropped significantly in the last few decades, Spectator understands the future of some of the remaining ones is far from certain.

Once busy courts remain closed some days of the week and there has been talk of creating super-courts in places such as Leeds, to which witnesses and defendants would have to travel to.

Veteran solicitors say their falling work at the magistrates’ courts is largely down to an increase in the use of Police Community Resolutions, which allow officers to use their judgement when dealing with less serious crimes, such as scuffles, vandalism and minor thefts.

No planned cutbacks have been revealed, but solicitors say further reductions in courts would only lead to yet more cases being delayed or adjourned due to defendants struggling to arrive on time and witnesses become more reluctant to travel greater distances to give evidence.

SOME lively discussion is expected next week when the ever-thorny issue of healthcare in North Yorkshire once more comes under the spotlight.

The county’s watchdog scrutiny of health committee is one of many that is less than happy with the way changes in the delivery of services could be forced through by NHS England.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plans are supposed to accelerate efficiency improvements and develop new models of care – but the watchdog fears they are being rushed through.

With that in mind they are holding a high-profile, crossparty summit meeting.

Spectator expects some verbal fireworks.