Published: 05:00, 09 October 2021
Plans to install two balconies at the home of a long-standing city business have sparked fears of a security risk at Canterbury Crown Court.
There are concerns the city’s main courthouse will suffer an “unacceptable loss of privacy” if ADM Computing’s bid to install first-floor terraces to its base in Chaucer Road is approved.
HM Courts Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has objected to the IT firm’s plans, stressing how the balconies will overlook private judges’ chambers and court rooms one and two.
The vehicle docking station used by prison vans to drop off “high-profile” criminals is also feared to be visible from the business’ proposed extension.
The court service has therefore called on Canterbury City Council to refuse the plans on the grounds of a “security breach”.
ADM also wants to add an extra floor to an outbuilding and expand its car park by 15 spaces.
The company, which provides IT support, was established in 1984 and moved to its current site opposite the crown court 24 years ago.
JLL, the agent acting on behalf of the court service, has written a letter to the council objecting to ADM’s new proposals.
It reads: “The court hears high profile cases. Should the security in any way be compromised because of the proposed works then such cases would need to be transferred elsewhere in the country.
“This would not only contribute towards the increasing backlog of cases but would also adversely impact on all parties but more specifically victims and witnesses.
“The roof terraces will be afforded views into the secure judges’ car park and Serco vehicle dock which will result in an unacceptable loss of privacy and breach of security”
“It will result in users of the terrace areas being able to overlook the judges’ chambers and court rooms one and two.”
'The roof terraces will be afforded views into the secure judges’ car park and Serco vehicle dock...'
HMCTS also states how construction of the business expansion will result in an “unacceptable level” of disruption to the operation of the crown court.
“Any increase in noise and vibration levels would not only disrupt court business but would likely result in courtrooms being unusable,” the objection letter reads.
“In the current political climate and the sensitivity around increasing backlogs of crown court trials this is likely to attract media headlines and further delays.”
ADM was approached for comment but did not respond.