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Home closure does not breach human rights, says judge

Two residents of an older people’s home in Walsall have lost
their High Court battle to prevent its closure using human rights
legislation.

Ivy Phillips and Evelyn Rowe argued that they were promised a
“home for life” at the Fred Evans Home in Chuckery, and closing it
would breach their right to respect for their private and family
lives under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human
Rights.

But Mr Justice Lightman rejected their claims, saying that there
was no firm documentary or other evidence of a promise of a home
for life. The council had carried out a thorough consultation, he
said. He also ruled that there was no need for the council to carry
out fresh assessments of residents’ care needs before the closure
as they could be met just as well in another home.

There are currently three residents at the home as the rest have
been moved to other homes after Walsall Council decided in January
to close the home.

It would cost £3,000 per week for each resident to keep the
home open. The judge said even if the decision had breached Article
8, “it would surely be justified as required for the economic
well-being of the council and of those in need of its
services”.

Social services director Don Phillips said: “From the council’s
point of view we are pleased that the court held that we followed
the proper procedures. Beyond that all we are anxious for now is to
reach agreement quickly with the families of the three residents
for alternative placements. We have offered to place the three
together in another home.”

The Fred Evans Home is expected to close shortly.

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