Court options explored

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The Ministry of Justice is looking at ways to improve layout and sizing issues at the Oamaru District Court.

The new facility, which is situated at the Oamaru Licensing Trust’s car park on Humber St, has come under fire from the community since its opening in August, due to lack of space.

Before this, court services had been operating at the Oamaru Opera House since the town’s courthouse was closed in 2011 due to earthquake risk.

District Courts general manager Tony Fisher said they had been investigating a number of ways to improve the facility and expected building work to get under way early next year.

“We regularly meet with users of hearing facility to discuss how it is working for them and hear their thoughts on what we can do to make better use of the building.

“We are investigating increasing the number of interview rooms at the Oamaru hearing facility from one to three and increasing the amount of public waiting space.”

Other improvements to the custodial area and courtroom layout are also being investigated and design options are currently being looked into, he said.

Part of the early design and scoping work will be figuring out the cost.

Initial designs have the addition at approximately 26 square-metres in size.