WORRIED Cheshire County Council leaders are asking the Government to monitor the effects of controversial proposed changes to the magistrates courts system.
Her Majesty's Court Service has suggested the alterations to cope with a 20% increase in workload created by a large increase in the number of offenders brought to justice over the last year.
But police efficiency has overloaded court lists with 1,900 cases queuing up in a system capable of dealing with 700.
From January 1, custody cases will be concentrated in Chester, Crewe and Warrington. Those normally heard at Northwich will be dealt with at Chester, Macclesfield at Crewe, and Runcorn at Warrington.
County Council Conservative leader Paul Findlow, pictured, said: 'We realise that the unacceptable backlog of cases has to be resolved but this is not the way to do it. The travel involved will create huge problems for many people, including witnesses who may not feel able to make the journey.'