WHAT price justice? Well it’s too expensive it would appear.

The Government has decided to close Northallerton Magistrates’ Court, along with another six elsewhere in the country.

It leaves North Yorkshire - the biggest county in the country with vast rural tracts - with just four JP benches in York, Harrogate, Skipton and Scarborough.

The Ministry of Justice admitted the court serves an exceptionally rural community and that during the course of the consultation public service transport timetables were altered.

They admitted it would make it more difficult for some to get to court, especially for early morning starts - and as a result, the court will not be closed until video facilities are made available in Northallerton.

But apparently the court was only used for 34 per cent of the time last year and according to the Ministry of Justice that is not enough so it will be flogged off and money raised from the sale of the buildings will be reinvested into the justice system.

But, apart from the Ministry, barely a voice has been raised in support of the closure. The local MP was against it, local councillors were against it and Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan was vehemently against it.

“This is the wrong decision taken at the wrong time.” she said. “We will be looking very carefully at it and the process that has led to it.

“Access to justice is hugely important for rural communities who too often feel their views are not heard, and the closure of Northallerton Magistrates Court will reinforce that perception.”

And that is the point. Why consult if you are going to ignore the views of all those who respond to the consultation?

The county town of North Yorkshire will now be without its own court and a video link to courts many miles away is hardly a replacement. It is clearly a case of the local people not being listened to.