Saturday sittings at Bingley Magistrates' Court have come to an end.

Clerk to the Justices David Chandler is pressing ahead with controversial plans to halt weekend sessions, despite opposition from lawyers and police.

Now, from this weekend, urgent cases will have to be heard at Bradford.

There was an outcry after Mr Chandler first announced his plans at a meeting of Keighley Magistrates' Court Users' Group.

He said clerks worked on Saturdays on a voluntary basis, but too few had come forward this year to enable him to staff both Bradford and Bingley Magistrates' Courts at weekends.

But Keighley-based solicitor Keith Blackwell said the move was a blow for local justice and would mean people having to travel to Bradford for court appearances.

West Yorkshire Police are also against the idea because they said they preferred local justice.

But the idea was approved when it was put to the latest meeting of the Keighley Magistrates' Bench.

Mr Chandler acknowledged that magistrates were worried about the impact of the change but said they agreed that it was the only way forward.

"They were concerned that I am faced with such a position, but they accepted that there is no viable alternative," he said.

From Saturday urgent cases which have been heard at Bingley on Saturdays and Bank Holidays will instead be switched to Bradford.

However, weekend sittings could be reinstated at Bingley if magistrates get their own way.

They have asked the West Riding Metropolitan Magistrates' Courts Committee to look at renegotiating court staff's current contracts so that Saturday sessions would no longer be voluntary.

And Mr Chandler said that could mean the reinstatement of weekend sittings at Bingley.

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