FEARS are growing for the future of Skipton Magistrates' Court, less than three years after it was saved from closure.

A senior local solicitor fears plans to close the cells at Skipton Police Station will mean the end of the court.

John Mewies, president of the Keighley and Craven District Law Society, says he has seen a steady reduction in the number of cases being heard at Skipton.

And he says if plans to close the Skipton custody suite go ahead, and people are instead taken to Harrogate Police Station, it will result in the closure of the court.

But the police have denied there will be any negative impact on the court, and claimed the closure of the cells will, if it goes ahead, save money and result in more officers on the beat.

Mr Mewies said: "There is no doubt in my mind that if this policy is adopted, it will result in the imminent closure of Skipton Magistrates' Court."

The closure of the cells is part of North Yorkshire Police's Operational Police Model.

The police say the Skipton cells are underused and their closure will save £72,203 a year.

Assistant chief constable Paul Kennedy said the decision to close Skipton cells would save money and result in more officers being seen on the beat, where the public wanted to see them.