KENDAL’S former magistrates’ court is set to go on sale within the next week.

A spokesperson for Homes England told the Gazette that it would be put on sale to ‘provide more homes for local people’.

“The exact type of homes that will be built will be a matter for the purchaser to agree with the local planning authority,” they said.

In 2015 the Kendal court was named as one of 91 that could be closed as part of a wider money-saving initiative. According to the Ministry of Justice, maintaining ‘under-used and dilapidated court buildings’ costs the taxpayer £500 million a year but some courts sit for less than half the time available.

The news prompted The Westmorland Gazette to launch its ‘Keep Justice Local’ campaign. Local solicitors expressed fury at the announcement, saying it would cause massive delays in the legal system, increase police workload and disadvantage vulnerable members of society.

The town’s South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court stopped administering justice in June last year, almost 25 years after it was opened by HRH The Princess Royal.There are occasional hearings at Kendal Town Hall but the majority of cases are now dealt with at Barrow.