COURT cases from across the county are set to be heard in East Lancashire from today after the sudden closure of a courthouse in Blackpool.

HM Courts officials shut Blackpool Magistrates Court overnight on Wednesday after the discovery of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in the building.

This followed the enforced closure of Preston Magistrates Court in September, for an anticipated three months, amid similar concerns over the roof in the Ringway building.

Now the Lancashire Telegraph understands courthouses in Blackburn and Burnley have been pressed into service by HM Courts and Tribunal Services to allow summary justice to continue to be offered across Lancashire.

An insider has said that Preston and Blackpool area cases are scheduled to be heard temporarily at Blackburn Magistrates Court, in Northgate, from today.

And Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley cases, and Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale cases will be transferred from Blackburn to Burnley Magistrates Court, off Parker Lane, for hearing. The arrangement could last for at least three weeks, it is believed.

The Burnley venue used to run up to four courts daily in the 2010s but had gradually been wound down in favour of hearing cases at Blackburn in recent years.

A Blackpool Council spokesman said earlier this week said: “We are aware the magistrates’ courts in Blackpool have closed following the results of a recent structural survey. We are working with the HMCTS (HM Courts and Tribunals Service) to assist them where we can."

Work is due to begin next year on building a new Blackpool courthouse as the current building is due to be demolished to make way for future phases of the £300m Blackpool Central leisure development in the resort.

Preston Magistrates Court closed suddenly in September, for up to three months, after RAAC was found in the roof, with cases transferred to Blackpool.

The Blackburn and Burnley courthouses are the only ones to hear magistrates cases now after the closure of Rawtenstall Magistrates Court in 2010 and the conversion of Reedley Magistrates Court into a family court hearing centre.