Angry response to inquest move
Dunstable will no longer have its own coroner’s court as inquests into deaths are to be moved elsewhere in a bid to cut costs by Central Beds Council.
The move will mean that grieving family members and witnesses will have to travel the 12 miles to Ampthill to hear inquests into suspicious deaths or those caused by accidents or suicide.
Ampthill Court House is currently being refurbished and will become home to the whole of the coroner’s service across the county.
Ampthill will house Dunstable and Bedford coroner’s services – as well as Luton’s, which is currently conducted in Dunstable.
Central Beds Council says the move will “rationalise and improve” accommodation arrangements for the county’s coroner’s services.
Councillor Maurice Jones said: “This reflects Central Beds Council’s commitment to reduce the number of buildings it works from and to reduce operating costs.
“By bringing it under one roof we are aiming to provide a better working environment and a better service.
“This move will represent a saving for all three councils in Bedfordshire.”
However, the move has been blasted by some residents, with convenience and accessibility the main concerns.
Rachel Whitelock said on Facebook: “It’s a long way to travel when you are already dealing with grief.
“Especially if you don’t drive, it’s not the easiest of places to get to.”
Becky Whitehall said: “Ridiculous. Public transport is a nightmare to Ampthill.
“If it had to be moved, why not somewhere closer like Leighton Buzzard or Luton?”
For those using public transport, Ampthill is two buses and a train away from Dunstable – a journey of over an hour.
Patsy Fuge told the Gazette that the coroner’s office should stay where it is.
She added: “It’s better suited here in Dunstable – it fits in well because the town is dead.”
Have your say at www.facebook.com/dunstablegazette or Tweet to @Dunstable_Rick.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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