The only magistrates’ court in Waltham Forest is set to close later this year as the Government looks to “modernise” the justice system.

People will have to travel to the nearest court in Stratford due to plans which will save taxpayers £358,000 a year.

The court, in Forest Road, Walthamstow, is among 86 which will be shut across the country.

It has been earmarked for closure between October and December this year.

A Ministry of Justice report said that most people living in Waltham Forest could get to Stratford within an hour.

It also pointed out that the Walthamstow court is only being used at one third of its capacity and new technology, such as video conferencing, will mean fewer people need to physically go to court.

Bow County Court, often used by Waltham Forest residents too, is also closing.

Malcolm Richardson, chairman of the Magistrates’ Association, said the widespread closures will make it harder to access justice.

He said: “Whilst accepting there was a clear case for some to close, many magistrates will be very worried about some of these closures and their impact on access to justice.

“There will be inevitable additional pressure on the system and the paramount concern of magistrates is for accessible justice to be protected.

“We hope the Ministry of Justice will work closely with magistrates to safeguard it.”

Minister for the courts and Legal Aid, Shailesh Vara, said the move is necessary to save money and make the system more efficient.

He said: “Court closures are difficult decisions, local communities have strong allegiances to their local courts and I understand their concerns.

“But changes to the estate are vital if we are to modernise a system which everybody accepts is unwieldy, inefficient, slow, expensive to maintain and unduly bureaucratic.”