CAMPAIGNERS have won their fight to keep open West Cumbria Magistrates Court in Workington.

The Government has decided the building will not be among courts across England and Wales to be closed.

The proposal had sparked a major protest involving MPs, local councils and the wider community.

Workington MP Sue Hayman tweeted that she was delighted the campaign to save the court had been successful.

She said later: “I am thrilled by the news that we have been able to save our courts and I pay tribute to everyone who took part in the very active campaign to keep them open.

“We could not have done it without you – my thanks to everyone who signed the petition and lobbied the Government.

“It’s worked and they have listened.

"I am extremely glad that the Government has been forced to go away and think again about closing the court, as it would have been disastrous for our area," she added.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed announced - in a tweet - that the Government had been forced to see sense at last.

He said: "This is a victory for common sense and for those who worked so hard, including local law firms, to keep the court open and I pay tribute to the efforts of everyone involved.

“It is essential that local people can access services such as these in a timely manner. Today’s good news means that people won’t have to travel to Barrow or Carlisle to access court services – a vital service for my constituents.

“Last summer I warned that the planned closure was completely unjustified and it would be wrong to expect people to travel for hours to access justice in our community. It is only right then, that the Government have seen sense and west Cumbria court will remain open.”

The Ministry of Justice said that the running costs of the Workington court was around £241,000 for 2014-2015 and its usage rate was around 42 per cent.

While the ministry said the court’s work could be accommodated at Carlisle Magistrates Court, the Lord Chancellor concluded that access to justice outweighed any efficiences to be gained.

Gail Inglis, chairman of North and West Cumbria Bench, said: “I’m so excited by the news. 

“I’ve just been down to the court to tell the staff and they are very happy.

“I can only think that all the different groups in and around Workington that have supported us and worked together, made a strong case for west Cumbria."

The Government announced a consultation on plans to close 91 courts and tribunals in July last year.

"Over 2,100 separate responses were received, along with 13 petitions containing over 10,000 signatures," said courts minister Shailesh Vara.

"Having considered carefully all responses to the consultation, we have decided to close 86 of the 91 courts and tribunals.

"On average, the 86 courts we are closing are used for just over a third of their available hearing time.

"For each proposal in the consultation, we have considered access to justice, value for money and efficiency," he added.

Among the buildings to be closed is Kendal Magistrates and County Court.