Scottish ministers have welcomed moves to improve court provision in Kirkcaldy, although no definitive timescale has been put on ambitious plans for a dedicated justice centre in the town.
Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP Claire Baker has called on the Scottish Government to commit to the plan to extend Kirkcaldy Police Station – and come up with appropriate funding — sooner rather than later.
Holyrood has welcomed the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service’s planning application but no firm timescales have been drawn up.
Mrs Baker, who has been campaigning for a justice centre in Kirkcaldy since 2012, said the government had managed to find more than £20 million for a similar project for Inverness.
“It has been clear that Kirkcaldy and the surrounding region have been working for some time with a court that is no longer fit for purpose,” she said.
“I’ve been calling for changes since 2012 and since then we have continued to see lack of space, poor equipment and sometimes we have even had witnesses facing the accused in stairwells. This is unacceptable.
“That is why I welcome all attempts by the court services to make changes and welcome news that plans have been lodged to move to the police station.
“I am clear that this must be the first step in moving towards a full justice centre for the area.”
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is proposing two new courtrooms, interview rooms, sheriff’s chambers, jury rooms, custody cells and witness rooms.
The plans say the existing court facilities at the Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court nearby at Whytecauseway will be retained but there is an “opportunity to adapt the entire police station building at a later stage into an enlarged justice centre”.
“The Government must now come out and confirm that it backs these plans, with appropriate funding, to ensure that we have a Justice Centre in the town sooner rather than later,” Mrs Baker added.
“Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area deserves to see justice, delivered locally with victims and their families put first.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is committed to delivering a justice system that is accessible, modern and fit-for-purpose.
“We welcome the steps taken by the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service to enhance the courts provision in Kirkcaldy.”