A NEW purpose-built coroner’s court has opened in Essex.

The dedicated court, at County Hall, Chelmsford, offers private meeting rooms for families, juries and lawyers as well as offices for the Essex Coroner’s Service.

It will become the main venue for cases in Essex.

Previously inquests were heard at a number of venues across the county and it is hoped the move will save Essex County Council money in costs of using other locations.

Work began on the new disabled-friendly centre in November with the first inquest being held in the new building on January 7.

Senior coroner for Essex 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.”

Ann Naylor, county councillor for 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.”