A dedicated Coroner’s Court has opened in Chelmsford providing bereaved families and friends with an improved service and additional privacy when attending inquests.
The court will become the main venue for cases heard by the Essex Coroner’s Service.
Located at County Hall via Victoria Road South in Chelmsford, it offers private meeting rooms for families, juries and advocates.
It also provide offices for the coroners and the coroner team.
County Councillor Ann Naylor, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “Attending inquests following the death of a loved one can be a traumatic and stressful time.
“This new centre will enable the service to provide an environment sympathetic to the needs of those who have lost family and friends.”
Senior Coroner for Essex Mrs Caroline Beasley–Murray said: “We are committed to ensuring we provide the best possible service to those who attend inquests.
“This new facility will help us provide further support to people at what is an extremely difficult time.”
Previously inquests were held at a number of different venues across the county; having a specific centre in Chelmsford will reduce the need and costs of using other locations unless it is appropriate to do so.
“The new court is now DDA compliant.
The new court is part of the second phase of Essex County Council’s property transformation (PT2), a key part of the next stage of the authority’s drive to save at least £235m over the next four years through radically redesigning the way it delivers its services.
PT2 is a three-year programme of change running until March 2016. PT2 will provide modern, flexible and cost-effective workplaces for employees while getting the most out of ECC’s valuable property estate.
The programme is on track and delivering on time, with £456,000 of revenue savings and £15m of capital receipts due to achieved by April 2014.
The first stage of the property transformation programme, which ran between June 2011 and March 2013, has already helped save the authority £1.2 million a year by reducing the number of properties in the council’s portfolio by 46.